Omicron wave hits nursing homes
New York now requires proof of a negative COVID-19 test, masking, and social distancing for families to visit elderly relatives in state nursing homes. The American Health Care Association, which represents more than 14,000 nursing homes nationwide, found that as of Jan. 9, the daily average number of COVID-19 cases among nursing home residents was more than 32,000, up drastically from just over 4,000 on Dec. 19. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recorded a total of 645 COVID-19 deaths among residents during the week ending Jan. 9, up 47 percent from the previous period. The death rates are trending up but are not as high as records in December 2020, when weekly deaths topped 6,200.
How are nursing homes responding? Many are reinstating distancing and masking guidelines. At some facilities, families may no longer visit personal rooms and must remain in public areas. Health officials are urging all staff and residents to get COVID-19 booster shots. Roughly 87 percent of nursing home residents are fully vaccinated, according to the CDC.
Dig deeper: Read Emily Belz’s report in WORLD Magazine about how the pandemic has triggered changes for senior citizen care.
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