Massachusetts nursing homes have made “significant strides” in dramatically lowering coronavirus infection and death rates amid the vaccine rollout that prioritized these hard-hit facilities, the Massachusetts Senior Care Association said.
The coronavirus vax rollout launched at Bay State long-term care facilities on Dec. 28, and since then, more than 125,000 vax doses have been administered to nursing home residents and staff.
Both virus cases and deaths tied to nursing homes have dropped since the rollout started.
“Encouraging data released today by the Massachusetts Senior Care Association show nursing homes in Massachusetts have made significant strides in mitigating the spread of, and preventing deaths from, the COVID-19 virus,” the association said in a statement Wednesday. “The data also show that prioritizing nursing home residents and staff for the vaccine rollout is working exceedingly well.”
As the vax started getting administered at Bay State long-term care facilities on Dec. 28, nearly 60% of coronavirus deaths in the state had been tied to these sites. During the 50 days since that vax launch day, 33% of Massachusetts virus deaths have been connected to long-term care facilities.
The seven-day rolling average of new cases among residents and staff in the state’s long-term care facilities is now 27 cases, compared to an average of 99 cases around the time of the vax launch day.
“Nursing home residents, their families and caregivers are very grateful Gov. (Charlie) Baker prioritized long-term care residents and staff in the state’s vaccine rollout,” said Tara Gregorio, president of the Massachusetts Senior Care Association. “The data show the vaccines are making a substantial difference in our communities. We extend our continued and strong gratitude and appreciation to the front-line heroes who have worked tirelessly during the pandemic.”
Since last May, there has been a 94% reduction in daily infections and an 87% reduction in daily deaths at nursing homes. Also, the rate of those recovering from COVID-19 since the second surge in October has climbed to 80%.
The seven-day rolling average of new deaths attributed to coronavirus is 15 deaths per day, compared to the peak last spring when the average was 119 deaths.
Aside from the vaccine, the Massachusetts Senior Care Association said the data shows that government funding increases along with more access to surveillance testing and PPE have made a “significant difference in protecting vulnerable nursing home residents and their caregivers.”