Maine experiences highest rate of nursing home deaths in recent weeks

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Maine’s rate of COVID-19 deaths in nursing homes is currently the highest in the nation according to data provided by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

For the week ending November 21, Maine’s rate of COVID-19 deaths per 1,000 nursing home residents was 2.45, revised down from 2.53. That rate is nearly eight times the national average of nursing home deaths. During that time period, there were 11 deaths from COVID-19 in nursing homes. 

The previous week, ending November 14, the rate of COVID-19 deaths in nursing homes was also the highest in the nation, with a rate of 3.66 per 1,000 residents. That number was revised upwards from a rate of 2.69. Seventeen nursing home residents died as a result of COVID-19 during that week.

The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) reports a higher rate of deaths from COVID-19 for nursing home residents for the week ending November 14. According to CMS, the rate of COVID-19 deaths per 1,000 residents for that time period was 3.81.

The U.S. CDC notes its data are reported by nursing homes to the National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN) COVID-19 module and differences in how each facility collects data can “affect facility reporting patterns.” This may result in a lag of reporting data to the NHSN and explain the difference in data reported on the CDC’s website and state health departments and CMS’ COVID-19 nursing home data dashboard. The data reported weekly are preliminary and subject to future revision.

According to CMS, the cumulative total of nursing home deaths per 1,000 residents in the state was 82.41 as of November 14. 

The rate of COVID-19 deaths in nursing homes has increased over the past several months, up from a period from August 1 to August 22 when nursing facilities in the state reported no deaths among residents to the U.S. CDC. 

According to the U.S. CDC, for the week ending November 7, the rate of nursing home deaths per 1,000 residents was 1.81. The previous week, the rate of nursing home deaths was 2.42.

Nursing home deaths peaked in January, with a COVID-19 death rate of 5.82 per 1,000 residents reported for the week ending January 17 by the U.S. CDC. 

CMS also reports that Maine’s nursing homes are among the most vaccinated in the nation. As of November 14, 96.98% of nursing homes in the state had staff that had fully completed COVID-19 vaccinations. That is currently the second-highest rate in the nation. 

Maine’s nursing home residents are also highly vaccinated. CMS reports that as of November 14, 93.02% of nursing homes in the state have residents who are fully vaccinated. Maine’s nursing home vaccination rate is the ninth highest in the nation.

This is the second time this year that Maine’s rate of COVID-19 deaths among nursing home residents has been among the highest in the nation. For the week ending May 2, Maine had the highest rate of COVID-19 infections in nursing homes and the rate of death from COVID-19 among nursing home residents was the sixth highest in the nation.

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