Deaths and cases are rising again at nursing homes
COVID-19 infections are soaring again at U.S. nursing homes because of the omicron wave, and deaths are climbing too, leading to new restrictions on family visits and a renewed push to get more residents and staff members vaccinated and boosted.
Nursing homes were the lethal epicenter of the pandemic early on, before the vaccine allowed many of them to reopen to visitors last year. But the wildly contagious variant has dealt them a setback.
Nursing homes reported a near-record of about 32,000 COVID-19 cases among residents in the week ending Jan. 9, an almost sevenfold increase from a month earlier, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
A total of 645 COVID-19-related deaths among residents were recorded during the same week, a 47% increase from the earlier period. And there are fears that deaths could go much higher before omicron is through.
Despite the rising numbers, the situation is not as dire as it was in December 2020, when nursing home deaths per week topped out at about 6,200. Experts credit the high vaccination rates now among nursing home residents: About 87% are fully vaccinated, according to CDC data.