Wyoming ranked 7th lowest in nation for COVID-19 cases and deaths in nursing homes

WYOMING— Wyoming’s rate of deaths and infection as a result of COVID-19 in nursing homes statewide has dropped to one of the lowest levels in the country, for a four-week period ending March 21.

According to AARP’s COVID-19 Nursing Home Dashboard Wyoming’s rate of .05 deaths per 100 nursing home residents ranks the state seventh in the nation for the lowest death rate per 100 nursing home residents. Vermont, Hawaii, Delaware, and Alaska all have no reported deaths in their nursing homes for the four-week period ending March 21. Nebraska and South Dakota have a 0.02 death rate per 100 nursing home residents. Pennsylvania has the nation’s highest nursing home death rate per 100 nursing home residents at 0.55.

 Nursing home resident cases in Wyoming have also fallen dramatically since January when Wyoming had an average of 10.4 COVID-19 cases per 100 residents in nursing homes. That number has dropped to .02 COVID-19 cases per 100 nursing home residents. Nursing home staff cases of COVID-19 have also fallen from an average of 8.3 COVID-19 cases per 100 nursing home staff members in January to just .4 cases per 100 nursing home staff members in March. 

 Nursing home staffing levels continue to be an area of concern in Wyoming. According to the AARP COVID-19 Nursing Home Dashboard, 38.2% of all Wyoming Nursing Homes had a shortage of direct care workers. This is the highest level since the onset of the pandemic by 10%. 

 In addition, 11.1% of Wyoming nursing homes self-reported a lack of at least one week’s worth of personal protective equipment. That is above the 9.9% national average.  

National Trends

Nationally, the rates of COVID-19 deaths and cases in nursing homes have declined dramatically over the past few months and are by far the lowest since The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has been tracking COVID-19 impacts in nursing homes.

The resident death rate in the four weeks ending March 21 was 0.20 per 100 residents, meaning that about 1 out of every 500 residents died from COVID-19 in the last month. This is a drop of 90% from the peak two months ago which was 1.95 deaths per 100 residents in the four weeks ending January 17.  The death rate in the most recent four weeks is less than half the previous lowest rate in September and October 2020.   

The rate of new resident cases in the most recent four weeks was 0.46 per 100 residents, fewer than 1 out of every 200 residents. This is a decline of 96% from the peak rate of more than 1 out of every 10 residents in the four weeks ending December 20. The resident case rate is about one-fifth of the level of the previous lowest rate in June 2020.

The rate of new staff cases was 0.77 per 100 residents, about 1 for every 130 residents. This is down 92% from a peak of nearly 1 case for every 10 residents in the four weeks ending December 20. The staff case rate is about one-third of the level of the previous lowest rate in June 2020.

Compared to the previous monthly dashboard in February, the rate of resident deaths either declined or remained zero in every state.  The rate of staff cases declined in every state, and the rate of resident cases declined in every state. 

The percentage of nursing homes with staffing shortages decreased for the third month in a row. Yet staffing continues to be an ongoing problem with about 2 out of every 9 facilities, or 22%, reporting a shortage of nurses or aides. At the state level, the percentage of nursing homes reporting shortages ranged from a low of 3% to a high of 45%.   

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