COVID-19 Deaths Spike in Wisconsin's Nursing Homes

Dec 17, 2020

Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine has arrived in Wisconsin at a time when deaths from the virus are high.

Of every 100 people living in a nursing home in Wisconsin, two have died from COVID-19 in the past month, according to a recent study by AARP.

The death rate in Wisconsin’s nursing homes is the highest it’s been since the pandemic started.

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And Wisconsin has one of the highest nursing home death rates in the country – only 5 states have a higher rate of COVID-19 deaths among nursing home residents.

“The situation in nursing homes is really out of hand,” said Helen Marks Dicks, the state issues advocacy director for AARP Wisconsin.

She says COVID-19 is prevalent in nursing homes because people are living in close quarters in facilities with staffing and PPE shortages.

That’s part of the reason why nursing home residents and staff are at the top of the list of people who can receive the coronavirus vaccine.

Dicks said getting those people vaccinated creates a domino effect that will help fight the virus.

“We have a good chance of calming down the virus in the nursing homes, which means fewer people going to the hospitals, which opens up the hospital beds for those people in the community,” she said.

In Oneida County 4 nursing homes have active public health investigations. Those investigations begin when a staff or resident tests positive for COVID-19.

Oneida County has more active facility-wide investigations for COVID-19 than surrounding counties.