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Warren nursing home sees second virus spike

Elm Road facility reports five cases of COVID-19

WARREN — The number of cases of COVID-19 at Mahoning Valley nursing homes, assisted-living facilities and prisons has dropped almost to zero except for one Warren nursing home that saw a spike of five cases last week.

The Gillette Nursing Home, 3310 Elm Road, had three staff cases of COVID-19 and two patient cases last week, according to the Ohio Department of Health website.

No other Trumbull County nursing home had any virus cases last week, nor did any Columbiana County facilities.

Todd Stein, one of the co-owners of the Gillette Nursing Home, said Friday the first person who tested positive was an employee who was fully vaccinated. He said four residents have tested positive, and three of them were fully vaccinated.

He said the facility has been testing unvaccinated employees twice per week, as required, but the first person to test positive wasn’t required to be tested. She is not actually a Gillette employee, but she works at Gillette a lot, Stein said.

He said after having the first positive result, everyone — employees and patients — will be tested every three to five days. “Hopefully we stop it in its tracks,” he said. The three employees and two residents who tested positive are doing OK, he said.

“I’d love to tell you it is going to be more mild with those who were vaccinated. I don’t know yet,” he said. “I’m praying to God that it stops.”

He said 65 percent of his staff are vaccinated, which is well above the average percentage for nursing home employees. “Probably 95 percent of our residents are vaccinated. I don’t know the rhyme or reason for it.”

He said the wing Gillette created to handle COVID-19 cases still was available for use, and the COVID-19 patients are being cared for there.

He said he also is fully stocked with personal protective equipment. He said the virus could have gotten into the facility in a number of ways because Gillette and most other facilities had gone back to open visitation with residents.

He said his employees have continued to wear masks continuously around patients. “Now that we have a case, we are full-blown gowned, shields, masks, even in the non-COVID areas, the whole building,” he said.

He said having a positive case also means visitations at Gillette stopped, although they still do window visitations. Stein said he only learned early last week that someone had tested positive.

That employee told Stein her first symptoms felt like a sinus infection and were not really that bad. But Gillette offers free testing to employees and patients, even family members of patients. “Today is like Day 6 or 7, and she says she feels 100 percent better,” Stein said on Friday.

Mahoning County nursing homes, which consistently have had the highest number of cases in the Mahoning Valley, dropped this week to five — three staff cases and two patient cases. Mahoning County had seven cases the previous week, and the facilities in Trumbull and Columbiana counties had none last week.

This is not the first time Gillette saw a spike in cases.

In December, at the peak of COVID-19 infections in the region, Gillette was inundated with cases and had 22 COVID-19 deaths that month.

No new deaths were reported from any nursing home in the Mahoning Valley last week.

And none of the three prisons in the Mahoning Valley — the Northeast Ohio Correctional Center and Ohio State Penitentiary in Youngstown and Trumbull Correctional Institution in Leavittsburg — have any current COVID-19 cases.

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