Operators of local nursing homes implore state to do more to protect residents, staff amid COVID-19 outbreaks


The group says there is a lack of access to COVID-19 testing and protective equipment

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(WKBN) – A group of Trumbull and Mahoning County nursing home operators is speaking out about a shortage of protective equipment and testing supplies that homes in the area are facing.

A statement was released by the North East Ohio Senior Rights Advocacy Group — comprising owners and operators of Briarfield, Community Skilled, Heritage Manor, Ohio Living Lake Vista, Shepherd of the Valley and Windsor House, Inc.

They’re asking for the state to help, saying they can’t protect their residents without the proper tools.

“According to State officials, there are more than 1,100 confirmed cases of COVID-19 linked to Ohio long-term care facilities. Overall, about a fifth of all deaths from the virus in the United States have been tied to nursing homes or other senior care centers.

Although long-term care facilities in Ohio have been identified as hotspots for the disease, they are not being allocated tests or PPE. These facilities cannot properly protect their residents and staff from an invisible and deadly enemy without the proper tools,” read the statement.

A new list released by the Ohio Department of Health this week shows where outbreaks of COVID-19 are occurring at local nursing homes and long-term care facilities. At one facility, 25 staff members are now infected.

The group says testing is needed to isolate those who test positive for COVID-19 before symptoms appear.

“Without testing, there is a much greater chance of spread. One positive COVID-19 resident could potentially result in hospital admissions for some 15-25 residents and for numerous members of the staff,” read the statement.

According to the group, they can’t purchase the items due to a disruption in the supply chain. Test kits and PPE allocation are controlled by government agencies, the group says.

“The Ohio Department Health states that over 2,000 health care workers have tested positive for COVID 19. The actual number is much higher due to a lack of testing availability for these workers.

They are being asked to risk their lives, and their families’ lives, yet they are not being considered a priority for PPE by state and federal agencies. These individuals should be considered our generation’s heroes, and deserve to be protected,” read the statement.

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