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Nursing home cases stay low

While new coronavirus cases locally and across the state have risen to alarming levels in recent weeks, the number of cases in area nursing homes, assisted living facilities and prisons continued to be low.

In fact, this week’s data from the Ohio Department of Health shows no new cases among patients or staff in nursing homes in Trumbull or Columbiana counties.

Mahoning County’s case numbers have remained low with a few changes.

Antonine Village nursing home in North Jackson, for example, added two staff cases this week but had no change in patient cases.

The Assumption Village nursing home in North Lima, meanwhile, dropped off of the list this week because its patient cases dropped from four to two.

The two state prisons in the area — Trumbull Correctional Institution in Leavittsburg and Northeast Ohio Correctional Center on Hubbard Road in Youngstown — continued to have no new cases among inmates this week.

As a state, patient and staff cases rose, however. There were 1,087 patient cases a week ago, but they rose to 1,585 this week. There were 755 staff cases last week across Ohio, but that rose to 980 cases this week.

Two additional deaths were reported at long-term facilities this week in Mahoning County but none in Trumbull or Columbiana. Mahoning rose to 194 deaths, but Trumbull remained at 78, and Columbiana remained at 53.

VULNERABLE

POPULATION

John Saulitis, director of the nonprofit long-term care ombudsman program known as Direction Home of Eastern Ohio, said there are still outbreaks happening at nursing homes and assisted living facilities in the four counties his agency covers — Mahoning, Trumbull, Columbiana and Ashtabula.

But after the initial surge, “We’ve seen a decline in the nursing home world, which is good because it’s a vulnerable population,” Saulitis said.

He noted a gradual increase in visitations at nursing homes recently, and he hopes the current surge across the state does not stop that.

“The negative impact of isolation on nursing home residents is tremendous. What is important is finding the right balance of protecting everybody, but at the same time, how do you address the social and emotional needs of the residents who are isolated from friends and family?”

He said the state and federal governments have set a standard for when indoor visitation in nursing homes and assisted living facilities should be curtailed or stopped. It’s a 10 percent positivity rate among people being tested for the virus in a county.

None of his four counties has reached that level, Saulitis said.

Saulitis said he wishes more nursing homes would use available testing methods for people who want to visit under situations called “compassionate care,” meaning end-of-life situations or when a resident has experienced a decline because of a loss of family support or who is grieving the loss of a close friend or loved one, for example.

“Those need to be expanded … for the well being of the residents,” he said.

Saulitis said he thinks Gov. Mike DeWine’s decision months ago to make the virus case numbers public and a rule requiring nursing homes to notify its residents and familes when they have a positive virus case have motivated facities to do the best job possible.

But nursing homes also have learned a lot of lessons over the months and increased and improved testing among residents and staff. “The pandemic was new,” he said. “There’s more personal protective equipment. There’s more attention to infection control.”

ODH Stats

Only facilities with three or more cases are listed. The “total” cases listed below are the total number the facility has had since April 15.

Mahoning County

Antonine Village nursing home in North Jackson, 3 patient cases, 2 staff cases; total of 11 patient cases, 2 staff cases.

Austin Woods nursing home in Austintown, 5 patient cases, 1 staff cases; total of 21 patient cases, 8 staff cases.

Humility House nursing home in Austintown, 3 patient cases, 1 staff cases; total of 32 patient cases, 21 staff cases.

Park Vista nursing home in Youngstown, 12 patient cases and 0 staff cases; total of 29 patient cases and 11 staff cases.

Windsor House at Omni Manor nursing home in Youngstown, 2 patient cases and 1 staff case; total of 75 patient cases and 31 staff cases.

Trumbull County

No nursing home had any cases this week.

Columbiana County

No nursing home had any cases this week.

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