Ohio COVID-19 deaths pass 4,000, over half lived in long-term care

This is a picture of CDC s laboratory test kit for SARS-CoV-2 provided to U.S. state and local public health laboratories, and Department of Defense laboratories. (Courtesy of CDC)

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This is a picture of CDC s laboratory test kit for SARS-CoV-2 provided to U.S. state and local public health laboratories, and Department of Defense laboratories. (Courtesy of CDC)

As of Wednesday, 4,044 Ohioans have died from the coronavirus since the beginning of the pandemic, and more than half of those deaths are residents who lived in long-term care communities such as nursing homes.

On April 15, Ohio started recording deaths of people in assisted livings, nursing homes or homes for for people with developmental disabilities, and since then 2,195 Ohioans in these long-term care communities have died from COVID-19. The Associated Press also previously reported that in addition, 369 nursing homes residents in Ohio died prior to April 15.

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Since April 15, there have been 10,376 residents with coronavirus cases and 5,719 staff with coronavirus cases in Ohio. This includes 883 current long-term care resident cases and 513 current staff cases listed, though the data on the state’s website is delayed and preliminary numbers.

Among recent outbreaks includes Rest Haven in Greenville, where 57 residents and 11 staff members tested positive during the outbreak, nine residents were hospitalized and seven died, said Emily Hoisington, director of nursing with Darke County Health Department. The last new case was detected Aug. 21 and many residents are at this point recovering.

Hoisington said any COVID-19 outbreak is considered active for at least 28 days after its last positive case.

Preble County Public Health continues to work on an outbreak of COVID-19 at the Greenbriar Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Eaton, where as of Wednesday, 45 positive residents and 18 employees have tested positive via a PCR test. Out of those tested positive there have been a number of hospital admissions, but currently only one person is known to still be hospitalized, Preble County Health Commissioner Erik Balster said.

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Balster said the department is aware of nine residents who died who had tested positive for COVID-19 but said the department is still waiting on official confirmation regarding cause of death for those individuals.

The residents of the Greenbriar Nursing and Rehabilitation Center were tested as the result of two employees testing positive. Further investigation of this outbreak will continue through both contact tracing and further (RT)-PCR testing.

“It does show just how quickly this can affect a vulnerable population,” Balster said.

He said long-term care facilities continue to be an area of focus for Preble County Public Health response.

COVID-19 can quickly spread in congregated settings where lots of people live close together, such as a nursing home, and the disease can particularly serious for people with multiple underlying conditions, which also includes nursing home residents.

Resources including additional personal protective equipment and members of the Ohio National Guard were dispatched to the facility from local and state partners.

Balster said this is a stressful and difficult time for both families and the staff at Greenbriar. He said he knows a lot of families are trying to reach their loved ones and asked people to be patient with staff.

“They are short staffed due to illness from this and they are really trying their best to keep things as healthy and safe as they can in there,” he said.

By the numbers

4,044: Ohio deaths from new coronavirus

2,195: Long-term care facility deaths due to coronavirus

10,376: Cases involving long-term care facility residents

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