Weekly coronavirus cases in US nursing homes have hit their highest peak since spring 2020, a new report finds.
During the week of November 15m the latest for which data is available, more than 16,000 cases were recorded in nursing homes and assisted living facilities, the American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL) revealed on Tuesday.
In addition to levels not seen since late May, it also represents a 177 percent increase in cases from mid-September.
What’s more, there were more than 2,000 COVID-related deaths in nursing homes, the highest figure seen in more than four months.
The report coincides with the imminent arrival of coronavirus vaccines as an advisory panel of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommended on Tuesday that long-term care facility residents be the first – along with healthcare workers – to receive the jabs.
Additionally, CVS Health Corp said on Wednesday it would administer Eli Lilly’s recently authorized antibody treatment to COVID-19 patients in their homes and in long-term care facilities through a US government-backed pilot project.
A new report found more than 16,000 coronavirus cases were recorded at US nursing homes during the week of November 15, the highest levels since the spring
During the week of November 15, more than 2,000 COVID-related deaths occurred at nursing homes, the highest figure since the week of June 7
‘Our worst fears have come true as COVID runs rampant among the general population, and long term care facilities are powerless to fully prevent it from entering due to its asymptomatic and pre-symptomatic spread,’ said Mark Parkinson, President and CEO of AHCA/NCAL, in a statement.
‘Our health care heroes are doing everything they can to prevent it from spreading further, but this level of COVID nationwide puts serious strain on our workforce, supplies, and testing capacity.’
The report uses data from the US Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) between May 31, when cases began being tracked in nursing homes, and November 15.
After seven weeks of declining infections in nursing homes through mid-September, cases began increasing in nearly all 50 states.
During the week of November 15, cases rose to 16,257. That’s the highest number seen since the spring.
Between mid-September the week of November 15, data revealed a 177 percent rise in weekly cases across the country.
The rise is correlated with the recent spike in new COVID cases in the general population with weekly cases among the public increasing 330 percent to 1,043,040 the week of November 15.
Additionally, 2,016 deaths were recorded the week of November 15. It marks the first time since the week of June 7 that fatalities surpassed 2,000.
Experts say it is unsurprising that nursing home residents are more vulnerable to death from COVID-19 due to multiple risk factors such as being older and having chronic conditions such as high blood pressure and diabetes.
However, mortality rates have decreased since the spring, from 31.7 percent to 12.4 percent.
Around 49% of all new COVID-19 nursing home cases were in Midwestern states the week of November 15
It comes the day after the CDC announced long-term care residents would be one of the first groups to receive coronavirus vaccines after they are approved. Pictured: A resident in a wheelchair at an assisted living facility in Boston, Massachusetts, September 2
The report also found that nursing homes in the Midwest were hit particularly hard by new cases and deaths.
During the week of November 15, nearly half – or 49 percent – of all new nursing home coronavirus infections were in Midwestern states.
In fact, nursing homes in the Midwest saw a more than 400 percent increase in weekly cases since mid-September.
Officials fear that the situation is only going to get worse after millions traveled and held gatherings over Thanksgiving.
‘With millions of Americans failing to heed advice from public health experts and traveling during Thanksgiving, we are extremely concerned that this situation will only get much worse,’ Parkinson said.
‘At this point, long term care facilities desperately need public health officials at every level to take emergency steps to get control of the community spread and ensure our facilities have the resources they need.’
CVS will distribute Eli Lilly’s coronavirus antibody drug to elderly coronavirus patients for free in seven US cities
By Associated Press and Natalie Rahhal, US Health Editor for DailyMail.com
CVS Health Corp said on Wednesday it would administer Eli Lilly’s recently authorized antibody treatment to COVID-19 patients in their homes and in long-term care facilities through a US government-backed pilot project.
A unit of CVS will start giving a total of 1,000 doses of the intravenous therapy – similar to the treatment given to President Donald Trump when he had COVID-19 – from Thursday in seven cities over three months.
Initial supply of the drug, which was authorized by the US Food and Drug Administration for emergency use on November 9, will go to patients at risk of severe infections but who are not hospitalized, with no out-of-pocket cost.
The pharmacy chain said it would expand the service to more markets as supply of the drug increases.
The pilot program is starting in Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, Los Angeles, Milwaukee, Minneapolis and Tampa.
CVS is piloting an HHS program to give out Eli Lilly’s antibody drug to at risk coronavirus patients at their homes in Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, Los Angeles, Milwaukee, Minneapolis and Tampa starting Thursday
The US government has the option to extend the pilot to another 1,000 doses for another three months. The drug can currently be administered on an outpatient basis.
The drug gained US authorization last month, and the government has purchased 300,000 doses.
Lilly expects to make up to one million doses of bamlanivimab by the end of 2020, and further increase supply in the first quarter of 2021.
Lilly has previously said it will begin shipping bamlanivimab through drug distributor AmerisourceBergen, but regional allocations of the drug will be determined by the federal government.
The US government last month partnered with regional pharmacy chains and independent community pharmacies to increase access to COVID-19 vaccines whenever they are made available.