Study: COVID-19 LTC Facility Deaths & Cases in U.S. Reach All-Time Low

The pandemic hit long-term care (LTC) facilities hard. The CDC reports older adults with severe underlying medical conditions are at higher risk of requiring hospitalization or dying from COVID-19, making LTC facility residents some of our most vulnerable. Despite making up less than 1% of the nation’s population, people living in LTC facilities account for at least 45% of the nation’s COVID-19 deaths.

There is some good news to report, though. Since more than 1.4 million LTC facility residents and one million staff have been fully vaccinated, COVID-19 deaths and cases are the lowest they’ve ever been. A study published by the Kaiser Family Foundation examined data from 41 states and the District of Columbia to determine how many new COVID-19 deaths and cases occurred in LTC facilities from December 2020 to April 2021. The study found deaths across all states declined by 89%, with five states reporting zero deaths.Like LTC facility deaths, average new weekly cases in LTC facilities hit an all-time low in April, dropping by 92%, with two states reporting zero new cases.

“We are not out of the woods yet, but these numbers are incredibly encouraging,” said Mark Parkinson, president and CEO of the American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living. “This trend shows that when long-term care is prioritized, as with the national vaccine rollout, we can protect our vulnerable elderly population.”

Despite Vaccinations and Positive Trends, Good Practices Must Continue

While vaccinations are the best defense against COVID-19, it’s important to maintain standard infection control and prevention procedures at LTCs. A few key practices recommended by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality include:

  • Washing hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water.
  • Wearing masks, gloves, and other personal protective equipment (PPE).
  • Covering mouths and noses when sneezing or coughing.
  • Keeping the environment clean and properly disinfecting surfaces and medical equipment.

The Nursing / Home Care Door Caddy from Protection First is ideal for LTC facilities, so healthcare professionals and caregivers can find their PPE when they need it most.