Hundreds of people die in Florida nursing homes in August

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During a four-week period in August, 237 Florida nursing home residents died from COVID-19, according to a new report released by the elderly advocacy group AARP.

This made Florida the highest death rate in the country during this period. The report focuses only on licensed retirement homes.

Nursing homes are required to submit information to the Federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. The same data was used for the report, according to Jeff Johnson, director of AARP Florida.

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The report also showed that 13 Florida nursing home staff died from COVID-19 during the same period, which ended on August 22.

“I mean, it’s unfortunate that Florida has been the leader where things have gone really bad for several months on a variety of measures,” Johnson said.

The report shows that 73.6% of Florida nursing home residents are fully immunized, making it the third lowest in the country. When it comes to nursing home staff, the numbers are worse – 48.5% of Florida nursing home staff are fully immunized, according to the report. Only Louisiana is down with 47.9%

“We have been saying for several months that if this is not resolved, if we do not see an increase in vaccinations, it is very likely that Florida will be a leader in terms of the number of cases and unfortunately the number of deaths,” Johnson said.

The state of Florida stopped publishing daily COVID-19 statistics several months ago, but, according to the latest Florida Department of Health report on May 28, there have been 11,506 COVID-19-related deaths in the state long-term care facilities.

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The Florida Healthcare Association, which represents nearly 700 nursing homes and assisted living facilities in the state, sent News 6 a statement in response to the AARP report.

Here is the statement in full:

“Florida nursing homes have gone to great lengths to keep their residents and staff safe since the onset of the pandemic, and they continue to do so. They have maintained their infection control protocols and staff still wear masks; perform regular testing and daily screening before entry (including temperature measurement); and are able to mitigate the spread through the use of COVID isolation wings. Facilities are better managing this virus and its impact on residents and staff, and data is already showing a downward trend in cases. During the week of August 29, cases among residents and staff declined, and today over 98% of residents and staff at our facilities remain COVID-free.

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Our centers are doing everything in their power to encourage staff to get vaccinated, including offering incentives, and staff vaccination rates are improving, albeit more slowly than we would like. Much of the reluctance we see among staff is similar to what we see in our communities, where part of the population is still reluctant to get vaccinated. We believe this situation will improve on the basis of President Biden’s directive to make vaccinations mandatory for nursing home staff.

It’s easy for AARP and others to watch from afar – without direct involvement in the day-to-day operations of a nursing home – and pass judgment. Maybe instead of producing alarmist reports and drawing conclusions, they should try to come up with concrete solutions, such as initiatives that will help increase vaccination rates in our communities and encourage individuals to seek a solution. career in long-term care to help fill our workforce shortages.

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