Officials with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say that 22 coronavirus cases were reported among fully vaccinated individuals at Chicago-area skilled nursing facilities between Dec. 2020 and March 2021, with two hospitalizations and one death reported among those cases.
According to the report, 12 residents and 10 staff members were diagnosed with the virus more than 14 days after receiving their second dose of the coronavirus vaccine as part of the study. In all, 7,931 residents and 6,834 staff members received two doses of the vaccine, meaning that less than one-tenth of a percent of those individuals ultimately contracted COVID during that time.
Of those 22 cases, 14, including eight residents and six staff members, had asymptomatic infections. Three symptomatic individuals had mild, non-specific symptoms. Two had mild specific symptoms, and three others were diagnosed with pneumonia.
Two cases did require hospitalization, and one individual died after experiencing “multiple concurrent infections,” according to the report.
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The first resident to be hospitalized was diagnosed with pneumonia nine days after receiving their second COVID dose and seven days before receiving a positive COVID test result. The timing of the positive test result met the study’s definition of a “breakthrough infection,” but clinical history indicates that the infection likely occurred before the two-week mark after the patient’s second COVID dose, according to the researchers.
The patient who passed away was hospitalized for weakness and loss of appetite in association with pneumonia. The patient ultimately tested positive for COVID upon arrival at the hospital, and passed away one week after being hospitalized.
According to the medical examiner, complications of COVID-19 were the primary cause of death, with underlying conditions of hypertension, diabetes and chronic kidney disease listed as contributing factors.
The CDC says that the results of the expansive study clearly illustrate the importance of COVID-19 vaccination in both preventing the virus in general, and of preventing severe illness if an individual does contract the virus.
“The results in this report highlight the importance of COVID-19 vaccination in high-risk congregate settings such as SNF’s; most fully vaccinated persons were not infected, did not have COVID-19-like symptoms and did not have severe illness,” the CDC said in its report.
Significantly, the CDC says that the breakthrough infections “did not lead to secondary transmission at these facilities,” indicating that those closest to the individuals at the facilities did not contract the virus.