Rates of COVID-19 Among Residents and Staff Members in Nursing Homes - United States, May 25-November 22, 2020

MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2021 Jan 15;70(2):52-55. doi: 10.15585/mmwr.mm7002e2.


During the beginning of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, nursing homes were identified as congregate settings at high risk for outbreaks of COVID-19 (1,2). Their residents also are at higher risk than the general population for morbidity and mortality associated with infection with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, in light of the association of severe outcomes with older age and certain underlying medical conditions (1,3). CDC's National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN) launched nationwide, facility-level COVID-19 nursing home surveillance on April 26, 2020. A federal mandate issued by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), required nursing homes to commence enrollment and routine reporting of COVID-19 cases among residents and staff members by May 25, 2020. This report uses the NHSN nursing home COVID-19 data reported during May 25-November 22, 2020, to describe COVID-19 rates among nursing home residents and staff members and compares these with rates in surrounding communities by corresponding U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) region.* COVID-19 cases among nursing home residents increased during June and July 2020, reaching 11.5 cases per 1,000 resident-weeks (calculated as the total number of occupied beds on the day that weekly data were reported) (week of July 26). By mid-September, rates had declined to 6.3 per 1,000 resident-weeks (week of September 13) before increasing again, reaching 23.2 cases per 1,000 resident-weeks by late November (week of November 22). COVID-19 cases among nursing home staff members also increased during June and July (week of July 26 = 10.9 cases per 1,000 resident-weeks) before declining during August-September (week of September 13 = 6.3 per 1,000 resident-weeks); rates increased by late November (week of November 22 = 21.3 cases per 1,000 resident-weeks). Rates of COVID-19 in the surrounding communities followed similar trends. Increases in community rates might be associated with increases in nursing home COVID-19 incidence, and nursing home mitigation strategies need to include a comprehensive plan to monitor local SARS-CoV-2 transmission and minimize high-risk exposures within facilities.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • COVID-19 / epidemiology*
  • Health Personnel / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Nursing Homes / statistics & numerical data*
  • United States / epidemiology