A nursing home, in which more than 90% of residents were fully-vaccinated, suffered a COVID-19 outbreak in March originating with a symptomatic, unvaccinated health care worker at the facility who had a variant of the virus, according to a new study from the CDC.
“To protect SNF (skilled nursing facility) residents, it is imperative that HCP (health care personnel), as well as SNF residents, be vaccinated. A continued emphasis on strategies for prevention of disease transmission, even among vaccinated populations, is also critical,” the CDC concludes.
During the outbreak, 46 people at the facility tested positive for COVID-19; 26 of the cases were residents and 20 were health care workers. Of the 26 resident patients, 18 were fully-vaccinated at the time. Of the 20 health care worker patients, only four were full-vaccinated at the time.
Scientists found the coronavirus in this outbreak was a variant, which they called R.1, that had several mutations already identified to increase virus transmissibility.
Contraction rates for COVID-19 was three times higher in residents who were not fully-vaccinated, and four times higher in health care workers who were not fully-vaccinated.
Of the unvaccinated residents, four needed to be hospitalized. None of the health care workers or vaccinated residents who contracted COVID-19 needed to be hospitalized for treatment.
Sadly, three residents died after contracting COVID-19, two of them were unvaccinated. No health care workers died.
Fully-vaccinated refers to anyone who is two weeks after receiving their second dose of either the Moderna or Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, or two weeks after receiving the single-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
The outbreak started on March 1 with a routine COVID-19 test that came back positive for the unvaccinated health care worker. The CDC says once the positive result came back, more testing among residents started to track potential cases.
The facility in Kentucky housed 83 residents and 116 health care workers.