By Ryan Lewallen, County 17
Wyoming is one of several states to report no new coronavirus-related deaths or cases among nursing home residents and staff recently, according to the AARP Public Policy Institute.
The state joined six others- Alaska, Rhode Island, Nevada, New Mexico, and the District of Columbia- in reporting zero COVID-19 related deaths in nursing homes within the most recent four-week period, which ended mid-April, the AARP announced May 18.
Wyoming is also one of three states, along with Idaho and the District of Columbia, to report zero new nursing home cases in the same period, per AARP.
The state’s nursing home resident death rate has dropped consistently in the last few months, plummeting from 2.95 COVID-19-related deaths per 100 residents in November 2020 to 0.05 in March, and finally to zero in April, according to the AARP.
New cases of COVID-19 in Wyoming nursing homes followed a similar trend, falling from 3.6 cases per 100 residents to zero at the end of the last period.
Nationwide, the rates of COVID-19-related deaths and cases in nursing homes have shown a 90 percent or more decrease from peak levels recorded in December 2020, the AARP states, adding that these and other COVID-19 impacts are the lowest on record since last spring.
But despite the numbers making Wyoming one of the best in the nation in terms of the number of COVID-19 cases and deaths, the state remains in the bottom tier in terms of staffing.
Roughly more than a third of Wyoming nursing homes continue to report a significant shortage of nurses and aids, the eighth highest percentage in the nation, per AARP.
Unlike the trends in COVID-19 cases and deaths, however, the percentage of nursing homes in the state reporting nursing and aid shortages has only worsened over time, climbing from 25.7 percent in February 2021 to 37.5 percent in mid-April.
At the national level, nursing and aid shortages have remained constant following a brief improvement at the end of 2020, per AARP.
Since the start of the pandemic, COVID-19 has killed more than 183,000 residents and staff in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities.