COVID cases fall in Ohio nursing homes

Staff Report

Here are the latest details on how the COVID-19 pandemic is impacting the area:

• The number of new COVID-19 cases in Ohio’s nursing homes has dropped significantly to 343 new cases last week, compared to the peak of 2,832 new cases in December.

As the number of nursing-home cases continues to drop due to vaccinations in long-term facilities, Governor Mike DeWine on Tuesday reminded nursing home staff and families of nursing home residents about the status of visitation in Ohio’s nursing homes.

Visitation is permitted at nursing homes in Ohio if the facilities meet the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) criteria to allow visits:

• No new onset of COVID-19 cases in the last 14 days;

• The facility is not currently conducting outbreak testing; and

• CMS reports the COVID-19 county positivity rate at less than 10%.

Compassionate care visits, which are special visits in which a family member or other visitor provides comfort, support, and assistance to a resident whose well-being is suffering or at risk, are always permitted, regardless of the criteria above.

DeWine sent a letter this week to all nursing homes in Ohio reminding them to check their county positivity rate every week to determine their visitation status and to remind them to allow for compassionate care visits.

Ohio’s nursing home facilities are required to report their visitation status to Ohio’s Long-Term Care Visitation Dashboard.

If you have a loved one in need of a compassionate care visit but are having trouble scheduling a visit, contact Ohio’s Office of the State Long-Term Care Ombudsman at or 1-800-282-1206.

• DeWine provided information Tuesday on the progression of vaccine eligibility in Ohio.

Because those ages 65 and older make up approximately 87 percent of all COVID-19 deaths in Ohio, no additional age groups are eligible for the vaccine at this time. Once the demand for the vaccine has been met for those 65 and older, those ages 60 and older will become eligible.

After a period of vaccination for this age group, those ages 55 and older will become eligible, followed by those ages 50 and up.

Individuals in specific small groups that could have an increased risk of exposure to the virus may also potentially be included in the 60 and older vaccination phase.

• The Fulton County Health Department reported only three new cases on Tuesday. Combined with the 18 cases reported on Monday, there have now been 3,743 cases overall.

There are no updates from the county on weekends, so the Monday number includes Saturday and Sunday figures.

The number of COVID-19 deaths in the county now stands at 64.

There were no hospitalizations for COVID-19 in Fulton County reported Tuesday, according to the Health Department. There have been 201 so far in the county.

Among the cases through Tuesday, there were 2,045 females and 1,684 males. The median age for confirmed cases is 45.

Lucas County had 34,724 cases and 755 deaths as of Tuesday. Defiance County had 3,670 cases and 101 deaths, Williams County 2,995 cases and 78 deaths, and Henry County 2,426 cases and 65 deaths.

There have been 958,153 cases overall in Ohio. Statewide, there have been 49,651 hospitalizations and 7,073 intensive care unit admissions related to the disease, as of Tuesday’s update.

There are 14,430 confirmed deaths statewide, with 2,538 more probable COVID-19 deaths, through Tuesday.

• Due to last week’s winter weather, the delivery of some Pfizer vaccines and all Moderna vaccines were delayed. Some providers used second doses that they had already received to avoid clinic cancelations. Those second doses will be backfilled with the shipments they receive this week.

For providers who canceled appointments last week, DeWine is urging them to expand their appointment schedules to include evening and weekend hours to catch up.

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Staff Report