Nursing home COVID-19 deaths, cases in Arizona are spiking, AARP says

Alarming COVID-19 numbers are coming out of nursing homes as new deaths and case numbers have skyrocketed despite a vaccine rollout.

According to AARP in January, the homes are in crisis. This is happening while many facilities are still waiting for the first doses of the vaccine.

The vaccine was initially supposed to be administered to the facilities by the end of December, but now that’s being pushed back.

40% of COVID-19 deaths have come from nursing facilities in Arizona, says Dana Marie Kennedy, the state's AARP director. She says there are 147 skilled nursing facilities in the state.

RELATED: AZDHS: Arizonans 65 and older eligible to register for COVID-19 vaccine on Jan. 19

Many of the facilities have still not gotten the vaccine, she says.

"I know the governor made them top priority, but they should have looked at the contracts and made sure and said that they would take on these contracts," Kennedy said.

This news is coming as the vaccine has been made available to new groups.

RELATED: Arizona's COVID-19 vaccine online appointment system flooded with requests

"As far as who to blame, I’m beside myself because we should have made these a top priority," Kennedy said.

As the facilities wait for the vaccine, the deaths and cases in nursing homes have skyrocketed, according to AARP. In a four-week period, ending at the end of December, AARP says cases increased from 1.1 to 14.3 per 100 residents.

"The people who care for our residents in long-term care are living in the community, so when we see rapid spread, it spreads in the nursing homes," Kennedy said.

How to sign up and schedule a COVID-19 vaccine appointment