Kansas Nursing Home Employees Missing COVID-19 Vaccine Targets, Data Show.
The AP (9/1) reports, “About a third of Kansas nursing homes have fewer than half of their health care workers vaccinated against the coronavirus, according to data released by the state.” Data from the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services and Kansas Department of Health and Environment show that only four of the more than three hundred “federally-licensed nursing homes are meeting the state’s goal for 90% of health care workers vaccinated against COVID-19.”
Hospitals, Nursing Homes “Exasperated” With Biden Administration As Billions In COVID-19 Aid Remain Unallocated.
The Washington Post (9/1, A1, Goldstein) reports on its front page, “Tens of billions of dollars designated by Congress to help hospitals, nursing homes and other health-care providers stave off financial hardship from the coronavirus pandemic are sitting unused, because the Biden administration has not released the money.” As COVID-19 hospitalizations increase once more, “a wide swath of the health-care industry is exasperated that federal health officials have not made available any more of the aid since President Biden took office.” In all, more than $52 billion has yet to be allocated to providers. The article mentions HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra and the Health Resources and Services Administration.
Three Nursing Homes In Maine Close Due To Staffing Shortages.
The Portland (ME) Press Herald (9/1, Hoey) reports, “Three Maine nursing homes closed this week and more closures are likely soon as the facilities that care for the state’s frail and elderly population struggle to overcome severe staffing shortages.” A trade association that represents 92 of the state’s nursing homes “confirmed the closures Wednesday and called on the state to release millions of dollars that could be used to support an industry suffering from COVID-19 fatigue, the rise of the delta variant, and a long-term care provider community stretched too thin.”
COVID-19 Vaccination Rates Among Texas Nursing Home Staff Reportedly At Issue Amid Rising Cases.
The Houston Chronicle (8/31, Gill) reports, “COVID-19 is again spreading in Texas nursing homes,” with active cases among residents having “tripled within a month, from 389 on July 30 to 1,213 on Aug. 30, according to Texas Health and Human Services.” The Houston Chronicle adds, “Infections among staff members appear to be outpacing those of residents, according to state data.” Meanwhile, just 59% “of staff members are vaccinated, compared to 79 percent of residents.” President Biden previously “announced that his administration will require nursing home staff be vaccinated as a condition to receive federal Medicare and Medicaid funding,” but currently, the state “does not require vaccines for nursing home staff.”
New York, Michigan Still Refuse To Release Nursing Home Information.
The Wall Street Journal (8/31, Warren, Delie, Subscription Publication) reports New York and Michigan are still refusing to release sufficient data regarding COVID-19 nursing home deaths that would allow the public to learn the truth about the alleged nursing home cover-ups.
Maryland Health Officials Plan To Test Seniors For COVID-19 Antibodies.
The Baltimore Sun (8/30, Cohn) reports in an effort to understand who will need COVID-19 booster shots and when, Maryland health officials “are planning to draw blood soon from 500 seniors in nursing homes in an effort to ‘check on their immunity levels.’” State correspondence “outlining the pilot program provided to The Baltimore Sun [shows] the yearlong, $842,600 emergency contract with LabCorp to look at antibody levels has only just launched.” The antibody tests “could be taken before and after seniors are given booster shots, if they are authorized more broadly by the FDA in coming weeks or months.”
New Jersey Disability Group Homes Rushing To Meet COVID-19 Vaccine, Testing Mandate Deadline.
The Bergen (NJ) Record (8/30, Myers) reports, “Group homes for New Jerseyans with disabilities are scrambling to meet a Sept. 7 state deadline to get thousands of workers vaccinated or tested” as COVID-19 cases continue to rise. Facilities “say they’re struggling to make that mandate a reality in a low-wage industry where hesitant workers may choose simply to walk away, and with testing options that have shrunk since the height of the pandemic.”
COVID-19 Outbreak At Oregon Facility Started With An Unvaccinated Worker, Public Health Officials Say.
The AP (8/28) reported that a COVID-19 “outbreak at an Oregon assisted living facility that has infected 64 people and killed five began with an unvaccinated worker, public health officials said.” The “outbreak at Gateway Living in Springfield began July 5, The Register-Guard newspaper reported.” The facility “has 105 employees and 101 residents; only 63% of the staff and 82% of the residents are completely vaccinated.”
Florida Nursing Home Group Pushes Back On Biden Administration Vaccine Mandate.
The Charlotte (NC) Observer (8/28, Santich) reported that COVID-19 cases in Florida nursing homes “have surged more than 20-fold since June as vaccination rates among staff continue to lag far below the national average.” Still, the industry “is pushing back against a new Biden administration vaccine mandate for its workers over concerns that many will quit rather than comply.” Emmett Reed, “CEO of the Florida Health Care Association, which represents 310 of the state’s 700 nursing homes, said: ‘By the federal government singling out nursing homes with a vaccination requirement that does not apply to health care personnel at other locations and in other health care sectors, we fear that our already critical workforce shortages will worsen.’”
Biden Administration Does Not Plan To Rely On National Pharmacy Chains To Give Booster Shots To Nursing Home Residents.
The Washington Post (8/27, Sun) reported the Biden Administration “does not plan to rely on national pharmacy chains to give booster doses of coronavirus vaccines to millions of nursing home residents this fall, as officials did last winter, federal health officials said.” Instead, “almost all nursing homes have told the federal government they plan to work with their existing long-term care pharmacies to provide the shots to residents, as soon as boosters are authorized by federal health officials.” However, spokespersons “for CVS and Walgreens said that despite the changes, they continue to work with federal officials to plan for booster vaccinations.”
St. Louis NPR (August 27)
Advocates for nursing home residents and unions that represent nursing home employees back the Biden administration’s effort to make sure workers get the COVID-19 vaccine. The administration’s order requires nursing homes that accept Medicare and Medicaid to ensure that their workers are fully vaccinated. President Joe Biden said facilities that don’t mandate vaccines could lose federal funding. The federal mandate could significantly increase Missouri’s vaccination numbers for long-term care staff who often take care of some of the most vulnerable residents, said Marjorie Moore, executive director of VOYCE, a nonprofit that advocates for long-term care residents.
Connecticut Mirror (August 26)
Vaccine mandates, education cited as helping to get the most buy-in.
North Carolina Health News (August 25)
Pandemic cut a deep swath through NC’s centers for people with intellectual, developmental disabilities
As Christmas 2020 approached, so did a surge of the novel coronavirus that was to bring more than 1,100 cases to North Carolina’s three state-run residential centers for some of North Carolina’s most vulnerable people.