• Devon Pique

Long Term Care Facilities Combat the COVID-19 Pandemic with the Help of the Vaccine


The COVID-19 pandemic has rocked the world, changing the way society has to function. One group that was most affected by this deadly disease was elderly people living in long-term care facilities (LTCFs). While only consisting of 5% of all U.S. cases, more than a third of U.S Coronavirus deaths were linked to an LTCF. Luckily, since the beginning of the vaccine rollout in early December, over 2 million residents have received at least one dose of either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine. Since then, both the number of new cases of COVID-19 and its related deaths in LTCFs have dropped significantly.


Residents of LTCFs were among the first group of people to have access to the COVID-19 vaccines. The CDC’s initial recommendation to state governments was a multi-tiered plan, where the first set of people intended to get the vaccine were healthcare personnel and LTCF residents.


According to the New York Times database; U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, new cases of COVID-19 in LTCFs have fallen by 80% and deaths have decreased by over 65% from December to February. This trend of the COVID-19 vaccine helping save the lives of LTCF patients is also reflected in reports by the CDC. At the height of the pandemic in mid-December, there were nearly 31,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 among LTCF residents. However, this number has steeply declined, and by March 7th, has dwindled down to only 1,180. When it comes to COVID-19 deaths in LTCFs, during the worst of it, the CDC reported 6,390 deaths in one week, however, this number has fallen to only 1,090 as of March 7th.


Not only have residents in LCTFs seen a massive decrease in COVID-19 cases, but so have the staff working in them. 2020 had a confirmed 26,340 cases, among staff members during the worst of it, however, as of March 7th, this number has dwindled to only 1,810.


Doctors everywhere are rejoicing in the vaccines’ effectiveness in LTCFs.


“I’m almost at a loss for words at how amazing it is and how exciting,” said Dr. David Gifford, the chief medical officer for the American Health Care Association. “If we are seeing a robust response with this vaccine with the elderly with a highly contagious disease, I think that’s a great sign for the rest of the population.”


So what does this mean for the rest of the world out there? Well, to stop this pandemic, it will take a team effort. The public will need to do their part in getting vaccinated and continue to remain wary of COVID-19 precautions.


“If you really want true herd immunity, where you get a blanket of protection over the country... you want about 75 to 85% of the country to get vaccinated,” said Dr. Anthony Fauci, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease.


While some may be doubtful of the vaccine, many think the success the nation is seeing with those who have received it may sway over other people who remain skeptical. LTCFs are in good shape and hopefully, the U.S. sees similar drops in COVID-19 cases and deaths throughout the entire population once the vaccine becomes available to everyone.

 

Speaking Plainly:

  • Residents of long-term care facilities (LTCFs) were one of the first groupings of people to receive the vaccine.

  • While earlier deaths in LTCFs were disproportionately high, since the rollout of the vaccine, these numbers have dropped significantly.

  • We are seeing improvements in both residents of LTCFs and staff members.

  • The vaccine has proven to be effective in LTCFs and hopefully, this trend will ring true with the general public.