The Advocate (January 10)
Even though an increasing number of Louisiana's most vulnerable residents in long-term care centers are receiving the COVID-19 vaccine, it could still be several weeks before the grim realities of the coronavirus pandemic abate, and with infections rising, the lumbering effort to protect them could not come soon enough.
COVID-19 Vaccine Rollout At Long-Term Care Facilities Reportedly Remains Slow.
The Los Angeles Times (1/9, Dolan) reported, “As of Friday, only about 17% of the more than 4 million vaccine doses distributed to long-term care facilities had been injected, according to” the CDC. Former California Association of Long Term Care Medicine President Dr. Michael Wasserman “blames the federal government for failing to set up a streamlined plan and directly oversee delivery of the vaccine.” The article added, “Instead, crucial decisions about who gets the shots first have been left up to state and local governments, and the work of administering the shots has been left to large national pharmacy chains – CVS and Walgreens – that do not have the same relationship with nursing homes as the specialized pharmacies that already serve the industry.”
Michigan Asks CDC To Expand Number Of Pharmacies Allowed To Give COVID-19 Vaccinations To Nursing Home Residents.
The Detroit Free Press (1/9, Hall) reported that the state of Michigan “is asking the federal government to expand the number of pharmacies that would be allowed to administer COVID-19 vaccines to residents and staff in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities.” Pharmacies such as Meijer and Kroger, “among others in Michigan, could be added to the list to help speed up vaccination of the state’s most vulnerable population.” The state “made the request with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the most recent conversation happened [last] week, said Bobby Leddy, deputy press secretary for Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, in an email response Friday.”
The Detroit Free Press (1/8, Boucher, Shamus, Hall) reported in another piece that Whitmer said Friday that “the state is doing everything it can to quickly vaccinate every Michigander who wants a dose...arguing state and federal data that shows a wide chasm between doses distributed and those actually administered doesn’t tell the whole story.”
The Detroit Free Press (1/8, Shamus, Hall, Boucher) also reported with a separate article.
Nursing Homes Across US Have Reportedly Been Slow While Rolling Out COVID-19 Vaccines.
USA Today (1/8, Weintraub, Leys) reported that nursing homes “have been slow to roll out COVID-19 vaccines, but federal, pharmacy and nursing home officials said they are on track to finish the job before the end of the month.” Only “about 16% of vaccines distributed for use in nursing homes have been injected into residents and the staff who care for them, according to data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.” But Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar “said those figures underestimate actual vaccinations, because there is a lag between the time shots are given and when they are recorded.”
Nearly Half Of Florida Nursing Home Residents Have Received First Vaccine Dose, State Says.
The Orlando (FL) Sentinel (1/8, Santich) reported that nearly half of Florida nursing home residents “have received their initial dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, the state’s surgeon general reported late [last] week, while Gov. Ron DeSantis has ordered reinforcements to speed up the vaccination process for assisted living facilities throughout the state as long-term care infection rates skyrocket.” Throughout the pandemic, the “biggest risk to long-term care residents has come from infected health-care workers and other staff spreading the virus within facilities.” On Friday, the state “reported 3,380 residents had tested positive for the virus – more than double the number of one month ago.”
The Miami Herald (1/8) also reported on the vaccine rollout.
Connecticut Completes First Round Of Nursing Home COVID-19 Vaccination Clinics.
The AP (1/8, Haigh) reported, “The first round of COVID-19 vaccination clinics held at Connecticut’s 210 nursing homes was completed on Friday, a milestone that comes as skilled nursing facilities continue to battle a second wave of infections.” Connecticut officials “hope to have the second round of vaccinations at all nursing homes completed by the end of January.”
San Diego County Sees Record Number Of Coronavirus Outbreaks In Skilled Nursing Facilities For Fourth Consecutive Week.
The San Diego Union-Tribune (1/8, Mapp) reported that “for the fourth week in a row, San Diego County is seeing a record-breaking number of [COVID-19] outbreaks in its skilled nursing facilities.” San Diego “County health officials reported Wednesday that there are 60 active outbreaks,” bringing “the total number of skilled nursing outbreaks since the beginning of the pandemic to 146.” So far, “the county reported, a total of 2,548 skilled nursing residents and 1,575 staff have tested positive for the virus and 282 residents/staff have died.”
Family Struggles With Nursing Home Liability Protections Following Mother’s Death.
ProPublica (1/8, Campbell) reported on the experience of one family that tried to get their mother hospitalized following identification of a stage 4 pressure ulcer during her stay at a North Carolina nursing home, where she eventually died. One of the woman’s daughters “hired a lawyer to file suit against the facility.” They learned the nursing home had “a one-star quality rating from the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.” However, due to the “broad immunity” the state of North Carolina offered to nursing homes and other healthcare providers, this lawsuit would be “all but impossible to pursue.” In the state, on-site inspections of nursing homes “declined dramatically during the early months of the pandemic, according to a December” HHS report.
Opinion: Illinois Governor’s Delayed Response To COVID-19 Outbreak In Veterans’ Home Was Fatal.
In an opinion piece for the Chicago Tribune (1/8), Republican State Sen. Sue Rezin wrote, “Three years ago, Gov. J.B. Pritzker stated, ‘When a governor does not take charge, people die.’ Those words were true then, and remain true, as 36 veterans have paid a deadly price for his administration’s lack of a quick, decisive response to the COVID-19 outbreak at the state-run LaSalle Veterans’ Home.” Rezin argued, “I call upon Gov. Pritzker to publicly commit to having IDPH’s director or assistant director and chief of staff attend future legislative hearings. Illinois veterans and their families deserve to know the truth behind IDPH’s deadly delay, and only the governor can make that happen by requiring his political appointees to stop avoiding the legislative oversight process and start answering questions.”
Detroit Free Press (January 8)
A few facilities said they had a delay in getting shots into arms because the state switched from the Pfizer to the Moderna vaccine for its long-term care facilities, whose populations are being vaccinated through a federal pharmacy program.
King5.com (January 8)
Washington’s goal was to vaccinate workers and residents of long-term care facilities by mid-January, but it’s clear it will take longer than that.
Orlando Sentinel (January 8)
Nearly half of Florida nursing home residents have received their initial dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, the state’s surgeon general reported late this week, while Gov. Ron DeSantis has ordered reinforcements to speed up the vaccination process for assisted living facilities throughout the state as long-term care infection rates skyrocket.
Connecticut Mirror (January 7)
Cameras in nursing home rooms, additional supplies of protective gear recommended as legislative changes this year
Connecticut’s nursing homes, ravaged by coronavirus, should allow residents and their families to begin installing cameras in rooms, should broaden infection control training and practices, should increase their supply of personal protective gear and should continue aggressively testing staff members to catch non-symptomatic cases, members of an advisory group recommended Thursday.
Kansas City Star (January 6)
Kansas could grant adult care facilities immunity from civil lawsuits if residents contract COVID-19, under a bill to be introduced in the House next week. Nursing homes have been a hot zone for the coronavirus across the country. In Kansas alone, more than a thousand deaths have been linked to outbreaks in facilities. The bill would give nursing homes protection from civil lawsuits if they are found to be compliant with safety protocols. The measure offers no immunity if a court finds that a resident contracted the virus because of gross negligence or “willful, wanton or reckless conduct” by the nursing home.