Nursing homes in the United States recently reported their highest weekly new coronavirus cases since the spring, the American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL) said in a report published Tuesday. The rise correlates with a surge in infections nationwide.
“Our worst fears have come true as COVID runs rampant among the general population, and long term care facilities are powerless to fully prevent it from entering due to its asymptomatic and pre-symptomatic spread,” said Mark Parkinson, president and CEO of AHCA/NCAL, in a statement.
Nursing homes in the Midwest were particularly hard hit, with a more then 400% increase in weekly cases since mid-September. During the week of Nov. 15, 49% of new nursing home cases were in the Midwest.
Between mid-September and the week of Nov. 15, there was a 177% rise in new weekly nursing home cases nationwide. The rise in cases has been accompanied by a rise in coronavirus deaths in nursing homes.
The report cites data from Johns Hopkins University and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Health experts say that rising community spread of the virus is a good indicator for surges in nursing homes.
“Given the fact that our elderly population is the most vulnerable and the rising level of Covid across the U.S. shows no signs of stopping, it is paramount that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provide the highest priority for the vaccine distribution to long term care residents and staff,” Parkinson said.