Community Spread Affects Nursing Homes

Angie SzumlinskiHealth

Trends in community infections from the novel coronavirus appear to run on par with cases among nursing home staff and residents per a recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This finding underscores the need to monitor local virus spread and prevent exposure to facilities, especially among staff potentially infected by family and others, and isolating newly admitted residents with unknown COVID-19 status.

Rates of COVID-19 among nursing home residents and staff members increased during June and July 2020 and again in November. Trends in reported COVID-19 cases among nursing home residents and staff members were similar to trends in incidence of COVID-19 in surrounding communities. Increases in community rates might be associated with an increase in nursing home COVID-19 incidence and nursing home mitigation strategies need to include a comprehensive plan to monitor local SARS-CoV-2 transmission and minimize high-risk exposures within facilities.

This information isn’t surprising but it does raise the question, are your staff members adhering to CDC guidelines even when not at work? It might be another opportunity to educate staff members about the risk for community exposure, encourage consistent use of CDC guidance in all settings, and ensuring adequate access and availability of personal protective equipment. It might also be nice to provide hand sanitizer bottles near the time clock that staff can use to refill their personal bottles and take home with them at the end of their shift!

Stay the course, get vaccinated, mask up, and stay tuned!