Nursing home deaths declining but higher than last summer, AARP reports

Karen Bouffard
The Detroit News

COVID-19 cases and deaths in long-term care facilities remain higher than last summer, though the numbers declined substantially in the four weeks ending Feb. 14, according an update of the AARP's COVID-19 dashboard. 

The national nonprofit bases it's COVID-19 dashboard on federal data. 

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services reported similar findings, with new cases among residents declining from 154 during the first week of February to 46 new cases the week of March 10, according to data on the agency's website. Deaths declined from 64 during the first week of February to 14 the week of March 10. 

According to the state's data, 5,537 residents of long-term care facilities have died of COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic, and 69 staff members. 

Staffing in nursing homes remains a significant problem, according to the report. Almost 37% of facilities reported a shortage of nurses or aides. And about 16% of the facilities said they still have a shortage of personal protection equipment.

"One year into the coronavirus pandemic, we continue to see concerning numbers of cases and deaths in Michigan’s nursing homes and long-term care facilities," said Paula D. Cunningham, AARP Michigan state director. "Decreasing numbers and vaccine rollout give hope, but we should not lose sight of the chronic, ongoing problems in our long-term care system that were exposed by COVID."

According to the state's data, 264,853 residents of long-term care facilities have been vaccinated, with 98% of first-dose clinics completed and about 85% second dose clinics completed.

Walgreen's and CVS pharmacies have been vaccinating nursing home residents through the federal Long-Term Care Facility Pharmacy Partnership Program.