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Some nursing homes seeing coronavirus cases for the first time

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Posted at 9:19 AM, Mar 26, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-26 09:21:47-04

With the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccines, nursing homes nationwide are seeing a drop in coronavirus cases, but some are seeing cases for the very first time.

An analysis from the U.S. Public Interest Research Group shows 437 nursing homes dodged COVID-19 for all of 2020.

Now, as the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services relaxes visitation guidelines, some of those homes have positive cases.

"I see it as somebody running for a touchdown and starting to slow down at the 10-yard line, and then they get slammed from behind because they were being lax. And that's what I fear is going to happen in some of these nursing homes," said Teresa Murray, Consumer Watchdog for U.S. PIRG.

Murray says there could be a lot of factors as to why some homes are seeing their very first cases, things like new variants emerging, PPE shortages, and not enough testing.

But knowing what a facility's vaccination rate is could be the most useful factor in preventing new cases.

“We would like to see nursing homes publicly disclose what their vaccination rates are, and the industry association actually is supportive of that as long as it doesn’t cause any additional bureaucracy and work for these nursing homes that are already just stressed out and over worked.”

The analysis references a study that shows a 48% drop in cases three weeks after residents got their first vaccine dose. That's compared to a 21% drop in homes that did not receive the vaccine. The comparison is similar among staff that were vaccinated.