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State report identifies COVID-19 hot spots at Ohio nursing homes

Posted at 6:31 PM, Apr 22, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-22 19:50:16-04

CUYAHOGA COUNTY, Ohio — The Ohio Department of Health says 558 patients and 223 employees at longterm care facilities are currently battling the coronavirus.

The numbers reflect current cases of COVID-19 as of Tuesday, April 21, 2020 and those totals do not include patients or staff who have recovered or passed away prior to this report.

Among those with the highest number of current, confirmed cases:

  • Westpark Neurology & Rehab Center in Cuyahoga County with 45 residents, 12 staff
  • Ohman Family Living at Briar in Geauga County with 44 residents, 14 staff
  • O'Neill Healthcare North Ridgeville in Lorain County with 66 residents and 20 staff

Search this database to see which longterm care facilities have current COVID-19 cases in Ohio.

The updated and revised release follows widespread objections by nursing home operators following last week's initial reporting of 840 COVID-19 cases at longterm care facilities across the state.

The Ohio Health Care Association, representing nursing homes across Ohio, said its members found the numbers to be misleading and, in some cases, incorrect. The Ohio Department of Health admitted to data entry and data accuracy problems before ultimately taking down the report.

Last week's report, was compiled both by county health departments and longterm care facilities and didn't differentiate between sick patients and workers. Greater detail in the reporting was required this week.

"I think it's much more informative to say there were this many staff and this many residents rather than having them lumped together as a single number," says Association Executive Director Peter Van Runkle.

Peter Van Runkle
Peter Van Runkle, Ohio Health Care Association

The Association says it has spent the last week working with members and the Ohio Department of Health to "more clearly and accurately" reflect COVID-19 cases in nursing homes.

Van Runkle says the association told the health department "you really need to have a process for verifying the data, going back to the facility and saying--are these numbers correct as you understand them".

Among the changes, the new report only lists current cases in the most recent week instead of cumulative totals similar to the way state and county cases are reported. What happened to previously reported COVID-19 patients is not clear.

The state is not currently reporting the numbers of longterm care patients recoveries or deaths. Entire counties also appear to be missing from this latest report.

As new numbers are being released, many nursing home are taking increased, precautionary measures to ensure safety.

At Grand Oaks Skilled Nursing in Oakwood Village, the facility's administrator says they are beginning to create a separate area if needed for COVID-19 patients.

"What I'm doing is prepping up an isolation wing and moving patients from semi-private room in case we have a COVID-19 patient in-house so we can isolate them," said Michael Orinoco.

The daughter of 50-year-old Kenya Merriweather said her mother called her when she learned another resident would be moving in alongside her in room.

"She called me today to tell me she would no longer have a room to herself and that the facility will be moving someone else into the facility with her," said Omena Render, who expressed concern over her mother's health.

"I'm very much concerned," said Render," saying her mother, "has upper respiratory infections and has been diagnosed with ALS".

Van Runkle says creating isolation wings is something his association is seeing "more and more that's a preparatory step" adding "we just don't know when it might show up at your building".

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