Coronavirus: 32 with symptoms, including one man who died, connected to Troy nursing home

Thirty-one people who live, work or visited Koester Pavilion nursing home in Troy have symptoms of COVID-19 and another resident with symptoms died Thursday night at Upper Valley Medical Center in Troy, Miami County health officials said Friday.

Earl Bolinger, 93, was awaiting coronavirus test results when he died, Miami County Coroner Dr. William Ginn said.

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His death is being treated as coronavirus-related, Ginn said. But Miami County Health Commissioner Dennis Propes said that cannot be confirmed until the test results are complete in 24 to 48 hours.

Eleven of those with symptoms are “presumptive positive” with results still pending, said Propes. Those hospitalized range in age from their 40s to very elderly; four of them are on ventilators in the critical care unit, said Dr. Ronal D. Manis Jr., medical director of infection prevention at Upper Valley Medical Center.

Also on Friday, Ohio's first death from COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, was confirmed by Gov. Mike DeWine as the statewide number of confirmed cases rose to 169.

Mark Wagoner Sr., 76, an attorney and Republican member of the Lucas County Board of Elections, died on Wednesday.

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Bolinger is the father of a man in his 70s who initially came to Koester Pavilion, then was transferred to the Dayton Veterans Affairs Medical Center hospital, where he was diagnosed with coronavirus. The son is a resident of Bethel Twp. in Clark County.

Earl Bolinger had been admitted to Upper Valley Medical Center with respiratory issues that sent him into the intensive care unit. He was placed on a ventilator before he died, Ginn said. Bolinger’s body was taken to the Montgomery County Coroner’s Office.

Ginn says he is worried there will be more deaths resulting from exposures to the coronavirus at Koester.

“You’re talking about elderly people in a group setting where things like this tend to run kind of rampant and most of those people are not in the greatest of health anyway,” Ginn said.

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Of the 32 people who have symptoms, 16 are residents, 14 are staff members and two were visitors.

The ages of the 32 people showing symptoms range from a 16-year-old staff member to 90-year-olds. The earliest symptoms appeared on March 9, Propes said.

“We want to emphasize that this is a community spread,” Propes said. “We know that it is in Ohio and it is spreading within the community.”

He said the Ohio Department of Health sent two epidemiologists to work with local officials to determine what started the spread of COVID-19 at Koester, which is owned by Premier Health.

“It may take us weeks to figure out what happened or where it came from and we may never actually (know), but right now our focus is trying to contain this and treating the patients,” Propes said.

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He said he’s been getting reports of discriminatory treatment toward the nursing home and its employees.

“We have vendors that are refusing to deliver to the facility. We have businesses that have been telling employees of Koester Pavilion that they’re not welcome at their place of business after this event,” Propes said. “I expected better from Miami County and the state of Ohio.”

Propes called it an “extremely difficult and complex situation.”

“These fine men and women are doing everything they can to contain the situation. And by taking actions like that you are making it much more stressful, much more difficult for them to do their job to take care of our parents, our grandparents and give them the care they need,” Propes said. “I would highly suggest those companies and those individuals re-evaluate some of the decisions they’ve made, some of the choices they’ve made and open up to to community. Now’s the time to come together. It’s not the time to cower in fear.”

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Koester had instituted a variety of proactive steps to protect residents, including restricting visitors on March 6 and then on March 12 instituted far-ranging restrictions in accordance with state and federal guidelines, said Ben Sutherly, Premier’s director of communications.

“Other precautions taken at the hospital include securing additional personal protective equipment, taking additional measures to ensure patients with symptoms consistent with COVID-19 are separated from other patients, and tightening visitor restrictions,” Sutherly said. “We also have postponed elective surgeries, made changes in our nutrition services, and have set up internal hotlines to support our physicians and employees.”

RELATED: Boost in confirmed coronavirus cases expected as testing ramps up in Ohio

Premier is continuing to offer drive-up coronavirus testing in Dayton and announced Saturday hours from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the University of Dayton Arena parking lot, 1801 Edwin C. Moses Blvd. The site is operated by Premier Health in partnership with UD. It will be closed Sunday.

As of Friday night, 1,097 people were tested, including 1,025 who were tested for COVID-19 and 61 people who tested positive for influenza, said Sharon Howard, director of site communications for Premier. A physician’s order for testing is needed and 117 people were turned away because they lacked one.

Results from the COVID-19 tests take 24 to 48 hours and are being analyzed by Quest Diagnostics.

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