The virus has killed 500 residents of Ohio nursing homes in 3 weeks WBNS-10TV Columbus, Ohio | Instant News


TOLEDO, Ohio (AP) – The number of people dying from coronaviruses in Ohio nursing homes continues to increase at an alarming rate.

Nearly 500 residents of long-term care centers have died in the past three weeks, according to data released by the country this week. That’s almost double the total reported for the previous two weeks.

The increase in deaths can be attributed to a significant jump or pile of cases added over the past week, said Melanie Amato, a spokesman for the state health department.

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Since mid-April, more than 4,300 nursing home residents and staff members have tested positive for the virus.

However, the figures do not tell the whole story about how the virus destroyed nursing homes during the pandemic because the Ohio Department of Health has just released the total for only the past three weeks.

Before that, the state did not require the local health department to report deaths in nursing homes related to the virus so numbers collected before mid-April might be inaccurate, Amato said on Friday.

Overall, deaths in nursing homes reported since April 15 account for 40% of all virus-related deaths in Ohio since the first death was reported in mid-March.

Seven states across the state have witnessed more than 30 deaths in long-term care centers in the past three weeks.

Toledo and Lucas County reported the most, 65, which doubled the number from last week. Franklin and Mahoning county both had 46 deaths in nursing homes during that time.

For many nursing homes, it is almost impossible to prevent the virus from spreading, especially in cities where it has spread widely, Dr. Mark Gloth, chief medical officer for HCC ManorCare based in Toledo.

Most buildings have never been designed as a hospital environment and include shared spaces that are intended to encourage social interaction, he said.

The death rate is almost 15% among residents who tested positive in company-operated nursing homes nationally, Gloth said.

About half of the more than 200 long-term care centers have residents with the virus – with some of the larger facilities recording 100 cases, he said earlier this week.

The biggest frustration is the lack of personal protective equipment, especially dresses, and testing equipment, Gloth said. “Long-term care is a thought afterwards,” he said.

Concern now is that the shortfall will increase because the state raised orders that have stopped unnecessary medical procedures, he said.

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