COVID-19 Risk for Individuals with Intellectual and/or Developmental Disabilities Varies by Type of Residential Setting

Ashlyn W. W. A. Wong and Scott D. Landes

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COVID-19 disproportionately affects people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD). In the state of California, the level of risk for this population varies by type of residence. People with IDD living in their own home or with family had COVID-19 case rates lower than Californians not receiving IDD services and case-fatality rates only slightly higher. In contrast, people with IDD residing in group settings with more residents had a substantially higher risk of testing positive for COVID-19, and those residing in settings providing more intensive skilled nursing care had an increased risk of dying from COVID-19. In Figure 1, we show COVID-19 case rates were highest in the two settings with the most residents: Intermediate Care Facilities for the Developmentally Disabled (ICF/DD) and Skilled Nursing Facilities. In Figure 2, case-fatality rates were highest in settings providing 24-hour skilled nursing care: ICF/DD – Nursing and Skilled Nursing Facilities settings.

Data Source: California Department of Developmental Services, current as of October 2, 2020. Methods are detailed in the published article in the Disability and Health Journal.

About the Authors
Ashlyn W. W. A. Wong is a recent B.A. graduate from the Department of Sociology in the Maxwell School at Syracuse University (SU). Scott D. Landes ( is an Associate Professor of Sociology and Faculty Affiliate of the Center for Aging and Policy Studies and Lerner Center for Public Health Promotion in the Maxwell School at SU.