Ohio’s Nursing Home COVID Crisis

Are your loved ones safe?

A full 79% of Ohio’s COVID-19 related deaths are from nursing homes. This according to an investigation by WMFD out of Mansfield, Ohio titled, Governor DeWine Suppresses Data Disproving COVID-19 Policies.

The report states:

Just two weeks ago Amy Acton estimated death rates in nursing homes comprised approximately 20% of the Ohio death toll. As reporters and citizen journalists investigated that claim, it was discovered that confirmed deaths were double Acton’s estimate. Continued digging reveals that, as of May 21, confirmed deaths in nursing homes total 79% of the state total.

The errors seem to stem from mixing data sets, slow responses and an overall lack of focus on critical information. Failing to dive deep into data provided by nursing homes and other congregate care facilities may account for the utterly irresponsible handling of nursing home infections.

Mixing data sets from congregate settings (information specific to nursing homes and other congregate facilities) for reporting and consideration bypassed a crucial step in checks and balances. In fact, the mixing is a fatal error.

Melissa Williams of Wooster has a loved one in a long-term care facility.

“We are losing valuable time away from our loved ones,” said Williams, whose family member is showing signs of dementia and sometimes doesn’t recall loved ones.

“If she didn’t even know our names, does she know if she ate? Is she being fed and changed?” Williams questioned.

“DeWine stated they locked family members out to keep our elderly from getting CV but yet he allowed the staff to give it to the patients. He needs to allow us back in to advocate for them once again because, without us, they are suffering and it’s heart wrenching.”

Recently William’s family went to the nursing facility to visit through a window with their loved one. When they arrived, they were told by staff that they could only speak to her on the telephone, said Williams.

“We had to make a call to her which confuses her because she has dementia and thinks she has to look at the phone because of prior FaceTime calls.”
The family left in tears and fearing for their family member’s safety and well-being. “It’s so sad, heartbreaking and so unnecessary.”

The media has been asking for numbers exclusive to nursing homes for weeks. And once the numbers were made available, they raised more questions than provided answer. Why did Governor DeWine, Jon Husted and Dr. Acton ignore Ohio’s top hotspot of infection? Why has Governor DeWine, Jon Husted and Dr. Acton focused their efforts and financial resources on contact tracing when science has determined the hot spot for the infection is 1) in nursing homes, and 2) in prisons?

Daniel Morris’s grandfather was in a facility in Tallmadge, Ohio. He recently passed away after testing positive for COVID-19. Before his passing, he was placed in isolation for 14 days with no visitors and no access to a telephone, after which the facility discovered that the test was a false positive.

The family was then notified that he was dying, and they could come to say goodbye.

Morris said the facility continued classifying and treating his grandfather as COVID-positive even though the result was proven false.

“They had no IV’s on him, and he was pretty much dying I think of dehydration,” said Morris.

“They called Hospice in and Hospice said because he tested positive for COVID-19 that they are going to treat it as COVID-19.”

After his grandfather’s passing, Morris said they received a call from the funeral home stating that his grandfather’s death was reported to them as COVID-19.

“Something has to be done about this. There are probably many families who have experienced this,” said Morris.

On May 26th nearly two and a half months after the Governor closed Ohio for business, he has announced he will test all staff and some residents at nursing home facilities. As WMFD reported.

Nursing homes and prisons produce extremely disproportionate
infection rates—and disproportionate deaths in the case of nursing homes. What if the state would have previously segregated the data sets and treated themdifferently—how many lives could have been saved in long term care  facilities, jails and prisons?

Governor DeWine, Jon Husted and Dr. Acton knowingly hid critical health care information from Ohioans. Families made decisions on their loved one’s care based on the daily information provided by the trio. How many deaths could have been prevented if caregivers had been properly informed? Legislators are calling for the return of oversight over the Ohio Department of Health as it relates to pandemic crisis management. There have also been calls seeking the resignation of Dr. Acton.