Wednesday, August 4, 2021
Another surge, another rise in COVID in SNFS? According to a recent article in the New York Times, Nursing Homes Confront New Covid Outbreaks Amid Calls for Staff Vaccination Mandates, the cases are rising. Featuring one company, the article notes
The case count has ticked up again: It’s still below 100 among residents and staff, the company said, but includes many breakthrough cases of vaccinated residents testing positive. Then last week, two vaccinated residents died with Covid .... The company said it had pinpointed the cause of the spread there and at other of its facilities: The breakthroughs had happened in the same homes where unvaccinated staff were testing positive, seemingly carrying the virus into the home from the community.
The company recently announced it was requiring all staff to be vaccinated, the article notes. As we all know, vaccine mandates are controversial.
Growing calls for vaccine mandates among health care workers have gained urgency but also met resistance in the nursing home industry, where some homes say it will cost them staff members in an industry already plagued with high turnover. Only about 60 percent of nursing home staff members are vaccinated, and some states report an even lower rate, with less than half inoculated, according to the most recent government data.
Staff immunization has been an issue in many states, especially as the highly contagious Delta variant races through regions with low vaccination rates. Some states and cities, not waiting for the nursing home industry, are imposing their own mandates for vaccinations on long-term care employees or operators may face penalties or additional testing requirements for unvaccinated staff....
Some states have reinstated visitation restrictions and the CDC is monitoring the number of cases. The article goes on to discuss in depth the issues surrounding a vaccine mandate, with some states requiring frequent testing in lieu of adopting a mandate. Looks like we are going to be dealing with this through the end of 2021. I go over with my students a list of questions regarding choosing a nursing home. I'm adding "how many of your staff and residents are vaccinated again COVID" to the list.