Hawaii’s Nursing Homes Manage COVID-19 Better Than Mainland Counterparts

Hawaii’s Nursing Homes had the lowest rate of deaths, resident and staff COVID-19 cases in the four weeks ending Dec. 20, 2020, according to AARP’s Nursing Home COVID-19 Dashboard.

Hawaii has below the national average at 26.8 percent in nursing staff shortages, compared to the national average, which is said to help in keeping rates of deaths lower.

About 4.9 percent of Hawai`i’s nursing homes reported COVID-19 cases, compared to an average of 58.1 percent of nursing homes with COVID-19 resident outbreaks nationwide from Nov. 23 to Dec. 20.  About 17.1 percent of Hawai`i nursing homes reported staff cases compared to a national average of 87% of nursing homes with staff infections.

“It’s encouraging that the hard work here in Hawai`i to keep COVID-19 out of nursing homes is paying off. We applaud the efforts of staff and administrators to protect our most vulnerable kupuna. Vaccinations now going on in nursing homes should further reduce the risk of COVID-19 outbreaks,” said Keali`i Lopez, AARP Hawai`i state director. “We also continue our call for more transparency about COVID-19 cases in all long-term care facilities, including reporting the number of vaccinations given to all long-term care facility residents and staff, and the percentages of staff and residents taking the vaccine.”

An area that needs improvement is in personal protective equipment. About 26.8 percent of nursing homes in Hawai`i reported that they lacked a one-week supply of PPE, compared to the national average of 18.1 percent.

AARP recommends to protect kupuna in long-term care facilities regular testing, having adequate staffing, oversight and access to in-person formal advocates, and providing supplemental staff wages and benefits, among others.

The AARP COVID-19 Nursing Home Dashboard analyzes federally reported data in four-week periods going back to June 1, 2020. Earlier this year, AARP fought for public reporting of nursing home COVID-19 cases and deaths.

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