DES MOINES, Iowa (KMTV) — According to a report from AARP, only 18% of Iowa nursing homes are meeting “an industry benchmark of having at least 75% of staff fully vaccinated.”
AARP provided the following release regarding the statistics:
The latest release of AARP’s Nursing Home COVID-19 Dashboard incorporates new data on vaccination rates among staff and residents, and finds that just 18% of Iowa nursing homes meet an industry benchmark of having at least 75% of staff fully vaccinated.
Nationally, slightly more than half of health care workers in nursing homes were fully vaccinated (56%) and about 78% of residents were fully vaccinated as of the week ending June 20. Here in Iowa, 89% of residents have been fully vaccinated and 60% of staff.
At the national level, COVID cases and deaths have dropped significantly from the previous dashboard release. Deaths of nursing home residents in Iowa continue to decrease from what they were in the previous period, dropping from a rate of .07 to .02 per 100 residents. New infections among residents and staff also declined. Resident cases went from .18 to .14 per 100 residents, and new staff cases declined from .58 to .20 per 100 residents.
While rates of cases and deaths have improved from the height of the pandemic, chronic problems revealed during the COVID-19 pandemic continue. The most recent data shows 40% of nursing homes reported a shortage of nurses or aides, a 3% increase from the previous reporting period.
“The drop in cases and deaths in nursing homes is welcome news,” said Brad Anderson, AARP Iowa State Director. “But the potential for the highly contagious Delta variant causing more harm to residents and staff is very real. We must do everything we can to keep them safe from the virus, which means encouraging residents and staff in long-term care facilities to get a free COVID vaccine to protect themselves, their family, and their community.”
AARP recently submitted a letter to the Centers for Medicare and Medicare Services (CMS) recommending the federal government commit to working with states, long-term care facilities, and other entities to ensure that facilities can access and administer vaccines on a continuing basis for the foreseeable future. The letter also applauds CMS for publishing data on nursing home vaccinations and calls on the agency to offer that data in a more user-friendly format. AARP has repeatedly urged transparency and public reporting about the impact of COVID on nursing facilities.
The AARP Nursing Home COVID-19 Dashboard analyzes federally reported data in four-week periods going back to June 1, 2020. Using this data, the AARP Public Policy Institute, in collaboration with the Scripps Gerontology Center at Miami University in Ohio, created the dashboard to provide snapshots of the virus' infiltration into nursing homes and impact on nursing home residents and staff, to identify specific areas of concern at the national and state levels in a timely manner.
The complete Nursing Home COVID-19 Dashboard is available at www.aarp.org/nursinghomedashboard. For more information on how COVID is impacting nursing homes and AARP's advocacy on this issue, visit www.aarp.org/nursinghomes.