Rise in COVID cases in Wyoming nursing homes

Wyoming’s rate of COVID-19 cases and deaths in Wyoming nursing homes increased in the four weeks ended Oct. 23, according to AARP’s COVID-19 Nursing Home Dashboard.

Wyoming’s rate of 6.0 nursing home cases per 100 residents, the third highest rate in the country, is higher than the previous four-week period, which was 4.5. The only states with higher residential rates are New Hampshire and Maine. Overall, there were 107 reported cases of COVID-19 among Wyoming nursing home residents during that four-week period. As of June 1, 2020, there have been 2,217 cases in Wyoming nursing homes.

Wyoming’s three nursing home resident deaths from COVID-19 in the past four weeks equates to a rate of 0.17 per 100 residents. This gives the state the sixth highest rate in the country.

On the staffing front, 63% of all Wyoming nursing homes confirmed at least one COVID case among staff over the four weeks, and a total of 85 cases among state nursing home staff.

The AARP COVID-19 Nursing Home Dashboard shows improvements in the percentage of nursing homes in Wyoming that are self-reporting staffing shortages. At 60.6%, it’s below last month’s rate of 62.9% of nursing homes reporting staff shortages. There are three other states with higher rates of staff shortages — Alaska at 70%, Minnesota at 64%, and Maine at 63%.

Nationwide, new data on “current” COVID-19 immunizations, which include the new bivalent booster shots available since September 2, show significant vulnerability for nursing home residents and staff heading into the winter season. Only 2 in 5 residents (40%) and less than a quarter of health workers (24%) were up to date on COVID-19 vaccinations as of October 22. In Wyoming, 44% of nursing home residents are up-to-date on COVID vaccines. Only 22% of nursing home staff say they are up to date on COVID vaccines.

The AARP dashboard shows national trends

For this dashboard, up-to-date on vaccination means someone has received the bivalent booster or has received a completed primary vaccination or another booster within the last 2 months.

Compared to the previous dashboard, rates of resident deaths and cases are slightly down in the 4 weeks ended October 23, but the trend is up.

  • Over 700 residents died from COVID-19 in the 4 weeks ended 10/23/22, and more than 35,000 were infected.
  • Approximately 1 in 1500 residents died from COVID-19 in those 4 weeks compared to 1 in 1200 in the 4 weeks ended 09/18/22.
  • About 1 in 31 residents tested positive, compared to 1 in 30 in the 4 weeks to 18/09/22. A third of US nursing homes have had at least one resident case.
  • The number of deaths and cases rose in October. Each of the 4 weeks covered by the current dashboard saw more resident cases and more deaths than the previous one. This increasing trend is worrying. For the past two winters, the most severe impacts of COVID-19 have occurred in late fall and early winter, and the delayed refresher rates have put many residents and staff at increased risk of infection and adverse outcomes.

The number of COVID-19 infections among employees has decreased significantly compared to the previous dashboard.

  • During the 4 weeks to 23/10/22 there was 1 new personnel case per 41 residents compared to 1 per 27 residents during the 4 weeks to 18/09/22.
  • Nationwide there were more than 27,000 staff infections in the 4 weeks up to 10/23/22. Half of US nursing homes have had at least one staff case.
  • While most of the dashboard period was flat, staff cases also started to increase again.
  • For the third month in a row, 25% of nursing homes reported a shortage of nurses and/or assistants. Staff shortages are likely to increase if there is a further spike in autumn/winter.