Vaccines Help Drive Drastic Decline In COVID Cases In Long Term Care Facilities

As distribution of COVID-19 vaccines continue, long term care facilities have seen a major decline in the number of new cases among residents and staff. In fact, the number of COVID cases among residents in nursing homes has fallen by 89 percent since mid-December when cases were at their peak, according to data from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). New resident cases are also at their lowest levels since the CMS began tracking data in May 2020. 

In an interview last week on CNN, American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL) President and CEO, Mark Parkinson attributed the positive development to the vaccines. When discussing the major decline in new cases, Parkinson said, “I can’t tell you how happy we are about it … A peak of thirty thousand cases a week just three months ago, now three thousand new cases a week – a 90 percent drop ... It’s just absolutely astonishing.” 

Even with this progress, long term care facilities are still battling COVID. In the same interview, Parkinson stressed the importance of continued prioritization for the vaccines, particularly doses for new residents and staff. AHCA/NCAL has taken the lead in setting a nationwide goal to vaccinate 75 percent of the approximately 1.5 million nursing home staff by June 30, 2021. As vaccination rates continue to increase, new COVID cases will continue to decrease. The #GetVaccinated campaign launched in late December encourages staff and residents to consent to the vaccine to protect themselves and their families. 

Long term care facilities have come a long way since the start of the pandemic, and we cannot afford to lose the progress we’ve made. We must continue to rally around our nation’s most vulnerable population, as well as frontline caregivers, so that we can defeat the virus for good. 

ABOUT AHCA/NCAL 
The American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL) represents more than 14,000 non-profit and proprietary skilled nursing centers, assisted living communities, sub-acute centers and homes for individuals with intellectual and development disabilities. By delivering solutions for quality care, AHCA/NCAL aims to improve the lives of the millions of frail, elderly and individuals with disabilities who receive long term or post-acute care in our member facilities each day. For more information, please visit www.ahcancal.org.