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About the Data

On August 12, we launched the Long-Term Care COVID Tracker, but the work of compiling the dataset began much earlier. On May 21, 2020, a team within The COVID Tracking Project started collecting long-term care data from every state that reported it.

Every Thursday evening until March 4, 2021, this dedicated team of volunteers gathered COVID-19 case and death data reported in long-term care facility residents and staff from state and territory websites, recent press conferences and releases, and directly from state health department officials. We published this data every Friday as a cumulative, current outbreak and aggregate dataset.

Reporting standards vary drastically across the nation, and many states share data that’s difficult to find, challenging to export or unavailable without a direct relationship with the state. Some states report cumulative cases and deaths while others report only current outbreaks. Every state defines an outbreak in a different way. We’ve done our best to represent the scale and scope of the pandemic within these communities, despite these variations.

Public notes accompany each state’s and territory’s data to explain the intricacies of what they report. You’ll also find definitions of our data categories throughout the tracker to help you navigate and use these datasets. These datasets aim to only represent facilities for seniors like nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and residential care homes, and excludes, when possible, facilities not specifically for the elderly like chemical dependency residential treatment centers, behavioral health residential facilities, and intermediate care facilities for individuals with intellectual disabilities.

See also our Frequently Asked Questions about Long-Term-Care data.

Common terms

Common terms you’ll find throughout the tracker:

  • Long-term care: A broad term that includes all types of facilities that provide housing and care to seniors and others.
  • Cumulative: COVID-19 total data within the time frame of the date of reporting and the reported collection starting date. States vary in their reported cumulative data start date.
  • Current outbreaks: A COVID-19 outbreak is reported when the first COVID-19 case (or cases) is identified in a facility. This outbreak is considered closed once a specified time period (28 days, 14 days, etc.) has passed without the discovery of a new case.
  • Aggregate: For states who report current outbreaks but not cumulative data, CTP carries the highest reported outbreak case or death total. Due to outbreak reporting, CTP’s aggregated cumulative data for these states under-reports actual cumulative totals.
  • Probables: Probables are cases or deaths reported by states, where a person had symptoms of COVID-19 but no positive laboratory COVID-19 test. Reporting differs by state about which symptoms constitute a probable case. For probable deaths, reporting differs by pre-mortem symptoms, post-mortem health signifiers, and health officials reporting the death.

Facility Types

  • Nursing Homes: Includes both skilled nursing facilities and nursing facilities. Skilled nursing facilities are those that participate in both Medicare and Medicaid. Nursing facilities are those that participate in Medicaid only. Nursing homes primarily engage in providing residents skilled nursing care and related services for residents who require medical or nursing care and rehabilitation services for the rehabilitation of injured, disabled, or sick individuals.
  • Assisted Living Facilities: A facility that provides housing and meals, personal care assistance and other supportive health services to promote resident independence. States generally regulate these facilities.
  • Uncategorized Long-Term Care Facilities: This category represents data from states that combine both state and federally regulated facilities into one lump sum for cases, deaths or facilities. Due to some state’s aggregated reporting, this category may contain nursing home and assisted living facilities along with chemical dependency residential treatment centers, behavioral health residential facilities, and intermediate care facilities for individuals with intellectual disabilities.
  • Other Care Facilities: The Other category houses data from state-regulated long-term care facilities like personal care homes that are not Assisted Living Facilities. Federally-regulated facilities like Nursing Homes or Skilled Nursing Facilities are not included in this category.

Special Thanks

Team Leads: Artis Curiskis and Kara Oehler

Deputy Lead: Aarushi Sahejpal

Data Visualizations: Conor Kelly and Sarah McLaughlin

Data Team: Alejandra Arevalo, Aliya Uteuova, Annie Rydland, Bob Berger, Caitlin Glennon, Chava Gourarie, Damian Gray, Danielle Bloch, Denise Heitzenroder, Elah Feder, Elise Hadley, Emma Rubin, Emily Temple-Wood, Eva Sher, Evan Sorenson, Glen Johnson, Hannah Cummins, Hannah Hoffman, Isha Pasumarthi, Jackie Tennett, Jaclyn Jeffrey-Wilensky, J. Albert Bowden II, Jake Burns, Javier E Thomas, Jeffrey Ndubisi, Jess Engebretson, Jesse Anderson, Jill Shumann, Julia Hill, Kayleigh Van Poolen, Kendra Redmond, Kragh Hertel, Lauren Bradley, Leslie Heyison, Matthias Shapiro, Meghan Burks-Lenz, Michael Spicer, Natasha Kanagat, Nathanael Roy, Pat Kelly, Patrick Denenea, Rick Palmer, Tara Devlin, Terra July Riley, Sarah Anderson, Simon Morrow, Stacey Rupolo, Steve Thomas, William John Condon, and Will Jaw.

Contributors: Aarushi Sahejpal, Alexis Madrigal, Amanda French, Caroline Dulaney, Carol Cronin, Ciara McCarthy, Conor Kelly, Danielle Bloch, Deirdre Kennedy, Elizabeth Eads, Elliott Klug, Erin Kissane, Harrison Frank, Jessamine Fitzpatrick, Jess Engebretson, Jessica Malaty Rivera, Jonathan Gilmour, Josh Zarrabi, Jordan Gass-Poore’, Kevin Miller, Laura Bult, Judith Oppenheim, Julia Kodysh, Júlia Ledur, Lindsay Muscato, Peter Walker, Rowan Moore Gerety, Ryan Kailath, Sara McCrea, Sara Simon, Sarah Hoffmann, Sarah McLaughlin Theo Michel, Whet Moser, and Zach Lipton.