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Revised COVID-19 data reveals dramatic increase in Ohio nursing homes

Posted at 3:21 PM, Apr 24, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-24 19:00:42-04

The Ohio Department of Health has released new, updated data revealing a dramatic increase in nursing home patients with current COVID-19 cases.

The data is released each Wednesday, with the first release coming on April 15, and it's supposed to accurately reflect the total number of active COVID-19 cases among residents and staff in Ohio's more than 900 nursing homes.

But the most recent data released on April 22 was incomplete because scores of local health departments failed to report the figures in time.

As a result, updated numbers were posted on the health department's website Thursday that double the number of cases in Ohio.

Now there are 1,199 active cases among residents and 477 staff, including more than 60 patient cases at O'Neill Healthcare in North Ridgeville.

The 5 On your Side Investigators have created a search-able database to show which long-term care facilities have reported COVID-19 cases.

There was also a dramatic reduction in some facilities over just the first week of reporting. In some cases, dozens of COVID-19 cases disappeared.

Peter Van Runkle
Peter Van Runkle, Ohio Health Care Association

Peter Van Runkle of the Ohio Health Care Association, which represents nursing homes across the state, says, "It's understandable that someone using the website would be confused because the Department of Health didn't do a very good job of explaining what was going on."

The reduction in COVID-19 patients from week to week, says Van Runkle, "means either they would have recovered or they would have passed away".

Van Runkle is also urging more "consistent reporting among more than 100 health departments across" Ohio.

He says it is his understanding that "cumulative numbers will start with April 15th and roll on from there".

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