More than 200,000 long-term care residents and staff have died during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, according to new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The updated findings incorporate data from the federal government and states, Kaiser Family Foundation first reported. The deaths within long-term care make up about 23% of all COVID-related deaths in the United States, a proportion that has continuously decreased since the start of the public health crisis.
“This share has dropped over time for a number of reasons, including high rates of vaccination among residents, rising vaccination rates among staff, an increased emphasis on infection control procedures, declining nursing home occupancy, and the lack of data on deaths in assisted living and LTCFs other than nursing homes in recent months,” Priya Chidambaram, KFF senior policy analyst, wrote.
Just over 82% of nursing home staff have been vaccinated against COVID-19, while 87.4% of residents have received a primary vaccination series as of Feb. 3, according to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.
Chidambaram also noted that the steady high case and death rates experienced by the industry may be attributed to the highly transmissible omicron variant and the nature of congregate care settings.
“There is ample research suggesting that LTSS users in congregate community based settings outside of nursing homes also face elevated risks of COVID-19 infection due to health conditions and the higher levels of infection transmission in some non-nursing facility congregate settings such as assisted living facilities and group homes,” she wrote.
Confirmed cases among both staff and residents have begun to decrease in recent weeks, CDC data shows.
The agency reported there were 37,793 cases among nursing home staff during the week of Jan. 30 after reporting 59,977 the week before. Among residents there were 33,884 cases during the last week in January after a reported 49,072 cases among the group the week earlier.