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News about coronavirus in Florida and around the world is constantly emerging. It's hard to stay on top of it all but Health News Florida and WUSF can help. Our responsibility at WUSF News is to keep you informed, and to help discern what’s important for your family as you make what could be life-saving decisions.

AARP: New COVID Cases At Florida Nursing Homes More Than National Average

Virus Outbreak Nursing Homes
Seth Wenig/AP
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AP
The latest AARP data shows that Florida is trending higher than the national average for new reported cases of COVID-19 among nursing home residents and staff.

A report shows more than 14% of nursing homes had new resident cases in the past four weeks. The national average is 10%. Part of the problem is only about 38% of facility workers have been vaccinated.

The latest AARP data shows that Florida is trending higher than the national average for new reported cases of COVID-19 among nursing home residents and staff.

Jeff Johnson, the Florida state director for AARP, said part of the problem is only about 38% of long-term care workers have been vaccinated.

"For the staff members who have been caring for them, many of whom have had people they care for a pass away during this pandemic from COVID, to not get vaccinated has been staggering for us," Johnson said.

He says while access to vaccines has been an issue for some Florida residents, that's not the case for long-term workers.

“The shots were literally brought to their door," Johnson said. "And on several rounds early on. So access is not the challenge here. These are folks who have chosen not to get it."

More than 14% of Florida’s nursing homes had new confirmed resident cases in the last four weeks, higher than the national average of 10%, while nearly 50% of nursing homes reported new staff cases in the same time period, an 18% increase since the last dashboard report.

Johnson said it’s important to try to understand why nursing home staff are resistant to getting vaccinated, and educate them on the importance of it.

Approximately 22% of Florida’s nursing homes continue to suffer from staffing shortages, up from 18% in the previous time period.

The numbers come from the organization’s Nursing Home COVID-19 Dashboard, which uses data released by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services — which is self-reported by nursing homes.

The federal data do not include coronavirus cases among residents or staff of assisted-living facilities, group homes and other congregate elder-care facilities. That data is included in Florida government statistics.

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