TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami/NSF) – Florida has made improvements in curtailing the spread of COVID-19 in nursing homes, according to an AARP report released Thursday.

In the four weeks ending Oct. 18, Florida nursing homes reported an average of two active COVID-19 cases for every 100 residents, better than the nationwide average of 2.8 active cases per 100 residents and a significant improvement from a prior rate of 4.5 cases per 100 residents.

The report is the third edition that AARP has published and is based on data self-reported by nursing homes to the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services between Sept. 21 and Oct. 18.

But Florida has seen a more than a 25 percent increase in COVID-19 inpatient hospitalizations over the past two weeks and a more than a 35 percent increase over the past 30 days, according to Florida health care officials.

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AARP Florida State Director Jeff Johnson warned that the recent uptick of COVID-19 cases could have adverse impacts for Florida nursing homes.

“Unfortunately, there is no reason to look at this data and conclude that the pandemic no longer poses a risk to frail and vulnerable older Floridians,” Johnson said. “We must keep our guard up, especially if the virus once again is on the rise this winter.”

AARP tracks five areas of data that the industry reports to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services: resident deaths per 100 residents; resident cases per 100 residents; staff cases per 100 residents; the percentage of nursing homes without a one-week supply of personal protective equipment; and the percentage of nursing homes with staffing shortages.

The latest update showed Florida nursing homes made improvements in all five areas from a September report and performed better than the national averages.

The data is analyzed by AARP Public Institute in collaboration with the Scripps Gerontology Center at Miami University in Ohio.

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