The study, COVID-19 in California’s Nursing Homes: Factors Associated with Cases and Deaths, found significant spread of coronavirus between May and August, when the number of COVID-19 cases and deaths in nursing homes more than doubled. In May, a quarter (25%) of the nursing homes studied had one or more residents with COVID-19, and 16% had at least one resident death attributable to the coronavirus. By August, 66% of facilities had a COVID-19 case, and 37% had at least one resident who had died of COVID-19.
The study notes that several facility and resident characteristics were associated with higher COVID-19 cases and deaths, including ownership status, nursing home size, staffing levels, and resident demographics. The most dominant factors in the spread of the coronavirus evolved as the pandemic progressed. For example, earlier in the pandemic, ownership status was most correlated with large numbers of cases and deaths, while in August the biggest driver was resident demographics.
The research, commissioned by the California Health Care Foundation, underscores the importance of continued research to understand the evolving dynamics of the pandemic. Based on the research results, the CHC Project Team developed a series of recommendations for addressing these issues.