Nearly half of all COVID deaths in Washington tied to long-term care facilities, report finds

Life Care Center Of Kirkland
Bri // Wikimedia Commons

OLYMPIA, Wash. — A report from the Washington State Department of Health has tied more than 20,000 COVID infections and nearly half of all coronavirus deaths in the state to long-term care facilities.

The report says 20,861 cases (4% of total cases) and 2,686 deaths (44% of total) are associated or likely associated with nursing homes across the state.

Data from DOH shows four distinct waves of COVID, with cases peaking in December 2020, roughly a month before people over age 65 became eligible to receive the vaccine. The following wave around May and June was only a fraction the size of December’s.

Ltc Covid

 

DOH makes a distinction between ‘Associated’ and ‘Likely Associated’ COVID cases. Associated cases means COVID infections were confirmed by a health investigation, while ‘likely associated’ cases were tied to long-term care facilities by address or telephone match.

Deaths, likewise, fell by half in the weeks following expanded vaccine access, and have now fallen to 10 or less deaths per week across every reporting nursing home in Washington.

King County has far and away the highest numbers with 5,490 infections and 868 deaths, followed by Pierce County with 2,676 infections and 293 deaths, and Spokane County with 2,432 infections and 364 deaths.

PAST COVERAGE: Report: Virus spreading in households, gatherings, worksites

PAST COVERAGE: 65% of Spokane’s COVID-19 deaths linked to long-term care facilities