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COVID-19 update: Nursing home infections, deaths plummet in Pa.

Patriot-News - 3/4/2021

The rate of COVID-19 infections and deaths at long-term care facilities in Pennsylvania has plummeted, showing vaccine is doing its job.

Pennsylvania’s seven-day moving average of infections at long-term care facilities has fallen to about 40, down from a peak of more than 600 in December.

The average number of daily deaths is less than 7, down from peaks of about 120 daily deaths during April and again in December.

Nationally, the American Health Care Association and the National Center for Assisted Living, which represent long term care providers, said this week the level of new cases in long-term care is the lowest since May, 2020.

The organizations noted that new COVID-19 cases among long-term care residents are down 82% since late December. That’s steeper than the 46% decline for the overall population. They attributed it to long-term care residents being vaccinated.

“We still have a long road ahead, but these numbers are incredibly encouraging and a major morale booster for frontline caregivers who have been working tirelessly every day for a year to protect our residents,” said Mark Parkinson, the CEO of the two organizations. “This new data showcases just how important it is for nursing homes residents and staff, as well as the general public, to get the vaccine because it is clearly working.”

Last week, Gov. Tom Wolf said Pennsylvania has given the two vaccine doses needed for full protection to virtually all skilled nursing home residents. Other officials said they expect most residents of assisted living and long-term care facilities will have received two doses by mid-March.

In other COVID-19 news, Pennsylvania registered 3,028 new COVID-19 infections on Thursday and 50 new deaths. The deaths bring Pennsylvania’s toll to 24,219 since the start of the pandemic about a year ago.

The number hospitalized with COVID-19 in Pennsylvania fell to 1,628, including 352 in intensive care.

As of early Thursday, Pennsylvania had been allocated a total of about 4.3 million doses of vaccine, and had given nearly 3 million shots, according to federal data. About 2 million adults had received at least one dose. About 915,000 adults, or about 9% of Pennsylvanians 18 or older, had received the two doses needed for full protection.


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