Over the hump? Florida nursing homes seeing higher vaccination numbers and lower case counts


Ethan Kispert


The pandemic has killed more than 186,000 nursing home residents and staff, according to a nursing home dashboard from the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP). 


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For Florida’s nursing homes, however, the situation appears to be heading in a positive direction. 

According to an AARP press release on nursing home vaccination rates, data showed declines in several key areas over the past month. Florida nursing homes reported 92 new nursing home deaths from COVID-19 on Oct. 17, which is down from 289 reported deaths in the previous month’s report. Nursing homes in the state also reported a decline from approximately four cases per 100 residents to just one case per 100 residents, which was the same for nursing home staff as well. 

With these lower infection numbers, came higher vaccination numbers. 

According to the AARP release, about 21% of Florida’s 700 nursing homes have vaccinated at least 75% of their staff. 

60.2% of nursing home staff throughout the state have been fully vaccinated, a number that’s up from 54.4% in August, according to CDC data

AARP Florida State Director Jeff Johnson said: 

“While Florida is still well behind the national average of 74 percent, it is encouraging to see the largest increase yet in Florida nursing home staff getting the vaccine.”

From Aug. 22 to Oct. 17, COVID-19 case metrics for the state’s nursing facilities have met or fallen below national averages. 

Data on the number of deaths in Florida nursing homes shows the state at 14 deaths per 10,000 residents as of Oct. 17, a number that’s below the national average of 18 deaths per 10,000 residents. On Aug. 19, Florida had a rate of 46 resident deaths per 10,000 as compared to the national average of 19 deaths. 

Resident cases tell a similar story. The rate of COVID cases per 10,000 residents in Florida matched the national average of 140 cases on Oct. 17. On Aug. 19, Florida had a case rate of 430 cases per 10,000 residents as compared to the national average of 180 cases. 

COVID case numbers for Florida’s nursing home staff followed the same trajectory, with a rate of 120 cases per 10,000 staff members for Oct. 17, as compared to the national average of 160 cases. On Aug. 19, the rates were at 440 cases and 250 cases per 10,000 for Florida and the entire country respectively.

Johnson has confidence in the COVID-19 booster shot’s ability to keep the state heading in the right direction.  

“With available booster shots and increased vaccination, we are hopeful that future reports will continue this trend.”