4 Factors in COVID-19 Spread in Long-Term Care

January 22, 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately affected residents and staff in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities, so the Centers for Disease Control has recommended these facilities have the highest priority for vaccinations. A new analysis took a closer look at factors associated with increased COVID-19 infections and deaths in these facilities.

Spread in the greater community, staff member infections, facility size and the racial makeup of residents are among the factors associated with COVID-19 cases and deaths in long-term care facilities, according to McKnight’s Senior Living.

Although a successful vaccination effort should mitigate the future risk of COVID-19 illness and deaths, a new analysis summarizes the findings of 30 studies that have examined potential factors associated with COVID-19 cases and/or deaths in LTCFs. The analysis identified several factors placing staff members and residents at risk of highly contagious infections, including coronavirus. The report draws on state-level data from 42 states between April 2020 and January. 

Few studies have examined the association between COVID-19 cases and deaths and facility-level characteristics in assisted-living communities separately from nursing facilities. One study looking at data from seven states found that assisted living communities with a high share of residents who are persons of color have high coronavirus case rates. The study also found that larger assisted living communities are more likely to experience at least one COVID-19 case.

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