Wyoming nursing home COVID-19 cases drop amid staffing, PPE concerns

Coronavirus-Related Death Announced in Nursing Home. (H/t WDH)
Another coronavirus-related death in Fremont County was announced Tuesday, bringing the state's death toll to 19. (Photo: Wyoming Department of Health)

Wyoming nursing homes had the seventh-lowest COVID-19 death and infection rate in the country over the last four weeks, the Wyoming AARP announced Friday.

As of April 16, the number of COVID-19-related deaths in Wyoming nursing homes fell to around .05 deaths per 100 residents, per the release, whereas the rate of infection dipped to an average of .02 cases.

The number of COVID-19 cases in nursing home staff fell as well, with the average number hovering around .4 cases per 100 staff members, the Wyoming AARP said.

For comparison, January COVID-19 infection rates with Wyoming nursing facilities were 8.3 cases per 100 staff and 10.4 cases per 100 residents, according to the release.

Despite these improvements in COVID-19 deaths and infections in Wyoming nursing homes, however, staffing levels remain a cause for concern with more than 38% of nursing homes in Wyoming reporting a shortage of direct care workers, the Wyoming AARP stated, the highest level since the start of the pandemic.

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Additionally, around 11% of Wyoming nursing homes have reported a lack of at least one week’s worth of personal protective equipment, above the 9.9% national average, per the release.

Wyoming follows Vermont, Hawaii, Delaware, and Alaska, all of whom have reported no deaths in their nursing homes over the past four weeks. Nebraska and South Dakota both have reported around .02 deaths per 100 nursing home residents.

Pennsylvania currently has the nation’s highest nursing home death rate with .55 deaths per 100 nursing home residents, per the release.

Nationwide, the rates of COVID-19-related deaths and cases in nursing homes have dramatically declined over the past few months and are currently at their lowest levels, the release stated. As of April 16, approximately one out of every 500 residents in the last month died from COVID-19, a 90% drop since January.