Unvaccinated Employee Causes COVID-19 Outbreak in Nursing Home

Long-term care facilities were among the first to receive COVID-19 vaccinations. Since December 2020, there have many efforts underway to get residents and staff vaccinated. Recently, a nursing home in Kentucky had a COVID-19 outbreak due to one unvaccinated worker who became infected. Skilled Nursing News reports that despite having a 90.4% rate of vaccination among residents, 44 residents still contracted the virus and three died.

In the Kentucky facility, 52.6% of staff had received the COVID-19 vaccine. Of the three residents that died, two were not vaccinated. Additionally, 22 unvaccinated residents also became infected with the virus, out of which 20 had symptoms. Twenty-two vaccinated residents also tested positive but only eight had symptoms. Furthermore, 16 staff members were infected who had not received the vaccination and 15 had symptoms. Four staff members who had been vaccinated also tested positive, but only two had symptoms.

This unfortunate incident emphasizes the need for care providers to get vaccinated in long-term care facilities along with the residents. The authors of Centers for Disease Control (CDC) stated in their recently published Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report that “vaccination of SNF residents and HCP is essential to reduce the risk for symptomatic COVID-19.”

One conclusion that can be drawn from this outbreak is that even though in trials the COVID-19 vaccines showed high efficacy, they are not 100% effective provided vaccinated individuals were also infected in the Kentucky facility.

Staff of skilled nursing facilities have been hesitant to take the vaccine which has raised concerns. Across the nation, the vaccination rate for staff is only 37.5%. This outbreak demonstrates why it is important for both staff and residents to receive vaccinations.

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