Coronavirus: Nursing home issues shown by Lebanon nursing home case

A Warren County nursing home has reported 55 COVID-19 cases since April involving 39 residents and 16 staffers, according to the Warren County Health Department.

CedarView Nursing Care and Rehabilitation Center, an 83-bed skilled nursing care facility on Oregonia Road in Lebanon, reported the cases to the Warren County Health Department.

The CedarView results are from a series of tests starting with a single positive test on April 5. After several more positive results, all other staff and residents were tested, according to Warren County Health Commissioner Duane Stansbury.

There were 16 people who tested positive who did not have any symptoms.

“That could be the reason it continued to spread at that facility,” Stansbury said.

Since the start of the outbreak in Ohio, there have been 26,357 total cases recorded, 4,718 hospitalizations and 1,534 deaths from COVID-19. This includes 252 cases, 41 hospitalizations and 13 deaths in Warren County.

State data shows 37 resident and 11 staff cases were new this week at CedarView. Ohio reports the nursing home data on a weekly basis.

Stansbury said employees who tested positive are staying home. Residents are isolated in their rooms.

State directives prohibit Stansbury from indicating whether there had been any deaths among the CedarView cases, he said.

“It’s clearly a serious problem. They are doing all the right things,” he said.

Elliot Polsky, administrator at CedarView, couldn’t be reached for comment Thursday.

Statewide in long-term care facilities, 1,873 new and 4,091 total resident cases have been reported since the beginning of the pandemic, according to the Ohio Department of Health.

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The Ohio Department of Health in late April expanded its definition of who was a priority for testing to now include people with no symptoms in long-term care facilities with outbreaks.

Previous guidance was for the state health department to give five tests per long term care facility and facilities had been relying on whether they have relationships with other organizations like hospitals to get access to more testing. Many facilities are still reporting spotty access with trying to get enough tests for staff and residents.

The data about COVID-19 cases both in the community and in long-term care facilities is emerging and far from complete, according to an article posted on April 24 by researcher Emily Muttillo with The Center for Community Solutions, a Cleveland-based human services think tank.

She wrote that the data recently released by the Ohio Department of Health includes the number of COVID-19 cases identified in both staff and residents as of April 21, but doesn’t include in its count residents and staff who have either recovered or passed away prior to that date.

Because this dataset does not include all cases originating in long-term care facilities, the total number of Ohio cases of COVID-19 originating in residents and staff of long-term care facilities is still unknown, Muttillo wrote.

The state is reporting the number of cases originating in long-term care facilities, including nursing homes, assisted living and intermediate care facilities, but not reporing independent senior housing or subsidized senior buildings.

More than 23,000 people in the U.S. have died in long-term care and nursing home facilities since the first coronavirus outbreak in a nursing home was reported in Washington state in February, according to the Associated Press.

On March 13, federal officials limited visits to essential healthcare workers and told facilities to halt communal dining and group activities and screen staff for fevers or cough. Many of the outbreaks have come since then, including in California, Texas, Minnesota and West Virginia, among other states.

There is no national tally on the number of nursing home workers, ranging from nurses to assistants, who have had the virus, in part because many don’t necessarily feel sick or get tested.

In most cases, it’s impossible to confirm how the disease was brought in or how long it was at a facility before manifesting itself in patients or workers. But with families and vendors barred, and many residents not allowed out of their rooms, most circulating comes from workers tending to patients.

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Other than CedarView, The Sheridan House in Mason, with 13 resident and five staff cases, had the most confirmed in Warren County, according to the Ohio Department of Health Thursday.

Earlier this week, Otterbein SeniorLife reported its first resident to have tested positive for the new virus, as they tested every resident and employee in buildings on their main campus, west of Lebanon. Residents in patio homes and houses are not being tested, but are in self isolation as part of strict precautions there.

Late last month, Otterbein said a part-time nurse had tested positive. Both cases are in self isolation, according to Otterbein.

“Otterbein Lebanon has been blessed having experienced but those two positive test results,” Executive Director Kendra Couch said in a May 12 message to residents and their families.