Locally, as of Dec. 9, that includes 67 long-term care residents in Butler County who died, in Clark 48 have died, in Greene 43 have died, in Miami 21 have died, in Montgomery 143 have died, in Preble nine have died, and in Warren 42 have died.
“Our organization has asked Ohioans to take extra precautions and find creative alternatives to traditional holiday gatherings, and do what they can to take this pressure off of the workforce and long term care,” Schwartz said.
The first COVID-19 vaccinations in Ohio could start as soon as next week but in the mean time the pandemic impact has continued to hit these vulnerable residents and staff.
A one-month delay in distributing the vaccine to all long-term care residents and caregivers, could result in more than 20,000 of residents across the country losing their life when a vaccine could have saved them, according to Mark Parkinson, CEO of the American Health Care Association, which represents nursing homes.
“Nursing homes are seeing the worst outbreak since last Spring with a record number of new cases (18,000-plus per week) due to community spread rapidly increasing across the U.S. and especially in the Midwest,” he said in a statement. “Unfortunately, we are also seeing COVID-related deaths in nursing homes increase to more than 2,000 per week.”
Schwartz said it is emotionally difficult for the workers.
Facilities with one case are considered to be facilities with an outbreak, which means visitation is then suspended and workers are not only trying to protect residents but also provide emotional support.
“In a lot of cases, long-term care workers are filling in for families when they can’t visit,” Schwartz said.
Meanwhile, residents have had either restricted visiting or no visiting since March. The staff and facilities are strained. AARP and Scripps Gerontology Center at Miami University found that in the four weeks leading up to Nov. 15 that 28.9% of Ohio nursing homes lacked at least a one week supply of personal protective equipment and 36.6% said they were short on direct care workers.
How to get help
For people with questions or concerns about nursing home and assisted living resident rights, the Ohio Long-Term Care Ombudsman program is a free resource at 1-800-282-1206 or OhioOmbudsman@age.ohio.gov. Local ombudsmen in your community can help resolve disputes and advocate for residents’ rights to be upheld.
Alzheimer’s Association offers free caregiver support, information, and care consultations. These services are available by phone or online during the COVID-19 pandemic. Call their Helpline at 800-272-3900.
Deaths since April 19 at long-term care facilities
Butler County: 67