Nursing homes are closer to returning back to normal operations based on coronavirus case trends over the past month. 

“What we’re seeing is a lot of early, positive signs,” David Grabowski, Ph.D., Harvard professor and healthcare policy expert, recently told the Wall Street Journal.

“They’re all encouraging and collectively suggest the vaccine is potentially starting to take effect,” he added. 

Federal data released late last week showed that weekly coronavirus deaths and cases in nursing homes have declined steadily since peaking during the week of Dec. 20 when cases reached 32,522.

Since then, weekly cases showed weekly declines. Cases were:

  • 27,919 during the week of Dec. 27
  • 26,261 during the week of Jan. 3
  • 25,269 during the week of Jan. 10, and 
  • 17,584 during the week of Jan. 17, the most recent reporting week. 
The percentage of nursing home residents vaccinated against COVID-19 is averaging much higher for residents than for staff members. Source: CDC.

The improvements also came during a time where a large majority of residents signed up to receive their first doses, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

During the first month of the federal vaccine program, skilled nursing facilities that had at least one vaccine clinic saw an estimated median of 77.8% of residents but just 37.5% of staff received at least one dose.