Maryland nursing home residents on dialysis 47% more likely to have COVID-19, study finds

An investigation at a Maryland nursing home identified 47 percent of dialysis residents testing positive for COVID-19, compared to 16 percent among those not receiving dialysis, according to the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report published Aug. 11.

In April, a COVID-19 outbreak occurred at a 200-bed Maryland nursing home that also has an independently operated dialysis center on site. On April 20, 47 symptomatic residents and 10 symptomatic staff members were tested, with 11 residents and three employees testing positive. On April 30, a Baltimore-based Johns Hopkins response team provided COVID-19 testing for 152 residents who had not tested positive within the past 48 hours.  

Five key findings: 

1. Between April 20 and April 30, 1 in 5 residents at the nursing home tested positive for COVID-19.

2. Eighteen COVID-19 patients (72 percent) tested April 30 were asymptomatic.

3. As of April 30, 15 of 32 (47 percent) residents receiving dialysis had positive test results, compared with 22 of 138 (16 percent) not receiving dialysis.  

4. Among COVID-19 patients, those receiving dialysis were more often hospitalized within 30 days of receiving a positive test result (53 percent) compared to those not receiving dialysis (18 percent).

5. Among residents with COVID-19, 40 percent of residents receiving dialysis and 27 percent of residents not receiving dialysis died within 30 days of diagnosis.

The CDC recommends nursing homes consider placing residents receiving dialysis in single rooms close to the dialysis center with increased monitoring given the higher risk.

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