In the week that ended August 1, Covid cases among nursing home workers also rose to 3,317 nationwide, with 12 deaths reported that week, according to CDC data.
Vaccination of staff is a problem in many states, especially as the highly contagious Delta variant is racing through regions with low vaccination rates. On Monday, Genesis HealthCare, one of the largest nursing home operators in the country, said it would make vaccines a requirement for staff by Aug. 23. “
Some states and cities that don’t wait for the nursing home industry may impose their own vaccination requirements on long-term care workers, or operators may face fines or additional testing requirements for unvaccinated personnel. Massachusetts said Wednesday that all nursing home workers must be fully vaccinated by October 1, while California said last week that health care workers must be vaccinated or tested for Covid weekly.
San Francisco and Denver have each announced a vaccination mandate for workers in high-risk environments, including nursing homes.
New outbreaks in some states, including Florida, Colorado, Indiana, and Louisiana, have forced some homes to once again restrict visitor numbers and impose other restrictions. The CDC said Friday that it is monitoring nursing home infections of the Delta variant to see if “additional measures are needed”.
“The bottom line is that the vaccine is the number 1, 2 and 3 we have in the fight against this pandemic, everywhere, but especially in nursing homes,” said Dr. Michael Wasserman, geriatrician and past president of the California Association of Long Term Care Medicine, who has reluctantly believed the need for mandates.
So far, the nursing home industry has stopped advocating a vaccination mandate, although large medical organizations have signed the requirement for health workers and more and more hospitals are requiring the vaccine for their employees.