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COVID cases, deaths and vaccination rates improving at Florida nursing homes, AARP reported
News-Journal - 11/23/2021
As COVID-19 numbers continue to decline statewide, all seven metrics used to evaluate how the virus impacts Florida nursing homes improved during a four-week period in September and October, according to AARP's latest dashboard update.
"As we approach the holiday season, the promising trend of these new numbers is a welcome relief for our state," said AARP Florida State Director Jeff Johnson in a press release. "It appears the delta wave has peaked in Florida, and we are continuing to see progress with pandemic recovery."
Using data released by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services — which is self-reported by nursing homes — the AARP Public Policy Institute, in collaboration with the Scripps Gerontology Center at Miami University in Ohio, created the AARP Nursing Home COVID-19 Dashboard to provide four-week snapshots of the virus' impact on nursing home residents and staff.
The federal data does not include coronavirus cases among residents or staff of assisted-living facilities, group homes and other congregate elder-care facilities.
Last month's report: Florida tied for third in COVID-19 deaths among nursing home residents, AARP says
From Sept. 30 to Oct. 17, the latest figures analyzed by AARP, the number of COVID-19 cases and deaths among Florida nursing home residents and staff declined from the previous reporting period.
And COVID-19 cases among Florida nursing home residents decreased from roughly 4 cases per 100 residents to just 1 case per 100 residents, the same figure reported for staff cases, according to AARP.
Florida reported 92 new nursing home resident deaths from COVID-19, making up 5% of the 2,003 total COVID-19 deaths occurring in U.S. nursing homes during this reporting period.
This is down from 289 deaths in the previous month's report, which represented 14% of nursing home COVID-19 deaths nationwide and gave Florida the third worst death rate in the country.
Now Florida ranks 32nd nationwide.
Florida nursing homes reporting staff shortages also decreased from 25% to 22% during this reporting period, according to the report.
The number of nursing homes in need of personal protective equipment dropped from 4% to 3.4% this reporting period.
"With available booster shots and increased vaccination, we are hopeful that future reports will continue this trend," Johnson said of the declining numbers.
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Florida nursing home staff vaccinations — which were the second-worst in the nation during the previous reporting period with 53% vaccinated — have improved by more than 5%, making Florida the fifth worst nationwide with 58.5% now vaccinated.
"While Florida is still well behind the national average of 74%, it is encouraging to see the largest increase yet in Florida nursing home staff getting the vaccine," Johnson said.
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Florida is one of 27 states that still falls below the national average for staff vaccinations.
Just 21%, or 150 of Florida's nearly 700 nursing homes, have met the industry standard staff vaccination rate of 75%.
Florida also showed improvement in the number of residents vaccinated against the virus. During the last reporting period, Florida had the worst rate in the nation with 72.4%. It now has the third worst rate with 76.6% of residents vaccinated — behind Nevada, with 75.4%, and Arizona, with 75.2%.
Florida is one of 18 states still below the national average of 86% for vaccinated nursing home residents.
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