In a news release published April 22, 2021, the Kaiser Family Foundation posted that COVID-19 deaths and cases among residents and staff of long-term care facilities have fallen dramatically since vaccinations began in December, with deaths declining by nearly 89% and cases declining by nearly 92% as of April 2021. COVID-19 deaths in long-term care settings fell from 1.7 deaths per 100,000 state residents in December to just 0.2 deaths per 100,000 state residents in April, an all-time low.
By mid-April, about a third (34%) of all COVID-19 deaths were in long-term care facilities, down from a peak of nearly half (49%) in June 2020 and 42% around the time that long-term care residents and staff began receiving vaccines in late December. Similarly, average new weekly cases in long-term care facilities were just 1.6 per 100,000 state residents in April, also an all-time low, compared to a peak of 20.3 in December 2020 across the 39 states (38 states plus DC) for which trend data is available.
Not all the news is good. Eight states experienced a rise in COVID-19 cases in long-term care facilities between March and April 2021. The increases ranged from a 6% uptick in New Hampshire to a more than 150% jump in Connecticut and Michigan. Such increases may be reflective of increased COVID-19 cases and community spread in such states overall, often attributed to rising infections among younger people due to “pandemic fatigue.”
No states reported increases in both cases and deaths in long-term care settings between March and April, so it remains to be seen whether recent increases in cases in a few states will lead to increases in deaths. For more data and analyses about COVID-19 and long-term care settings, visit kff.org.
Stay well, mask up indoors, and stay tuned!