Faster-Spreading COVID Strain Poses New Risks For Nursing Homes
A new, more-easily spread strain of the COVID-19 virus has swept through a Colorado nursing home, apparently infecting almost everyone in the facility.
Scientists fear the new strain can spread twice as fast as the existing, dominant strain — even as cases in Arizona have set records.
“News that the new strain of COVID-19 has been confirmed and connected with a Colorado nursing home indicates that our fight against this virus is far from over,” said CEO of the American Health Care Association and the National Center for Assisted Living. Some 38% of the deaths from COVID-19 in the U.S. have been among nursing home and assisted living center residents and staff.
“This development comes at a time when long term care facilities are facing the worst outbreak since the spring,” said CEO Mark Parkinson. “Soaring community spread has resulted in a record-breaking number of cases and deaths in nursing homes — nearly 25,000 cases and 4,000 deaths per week nationally. This is why long-term care residents and staff must be prioritized for critical resources, especially distribution of the COVID-19 vaccines. Given the asymptomatic and pre-symptomatic spread of the virus, coupled with the vulnerability of our populations, the vaccines will literally be a lifesaver for tens of thousands of long-term care residents. We need the full support of federal and state governments to win this war.”