Healthcare worker vaccinates young woman

Long-term care staffers are increasingly opening up to the COVID-19 vaccines, according to the latest insights from the National Investment Center for Seniors Housing & Care. 

The organization’s new Wave 26 executive survey revealed that the vaccination rate among workers has jumped to 64%, as of data collected from April 5 to  18. The findings reflect data from 81 skilled nursing and seniors housing operators.

That’s an increase from the 55% rate among staff found in a survey conducted from March 8 to 21 during NIC’s Wave 24 survey.

“As a result of the vaccination rates, one-half of organizations have been testing staff at least once a week for COVID-19 since the Wave 24 survey, but two-thirds are testing residents only if symptomatic,” NIC Senior Principal Lana Peck wrote. 

Federal health officials last week eased coronavirus testing requirements for fully vaccinated nursing home residents and workers under a new set of recommendations. Experts suggested the relaxation could help ease some of the burden on providers who’ve had to do a lot of routine testing since the pandemic’s onset.

Connecticut operator Athena Health Care Systems in early April stressed the importance of broad testing even as COVID vaccines become widespread. 

“Between staff, who may be asymptomatic, and visitors, who are now coming back into the buildings … we definitely think testing is still one of the vital keys in stopping COVID from getting into nursing homes,” Athena spokesman Timothy Brown said.