Families of Ohio nursing home residents plead to visit as Covid-19 cases rise by more than 500 in a week

Published: Jun. 25, 2020 at 6:43 PM EDT
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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - Deaths from Covid-19 in Ohio nursing homes have reached nearly 2,000.

Families worried about their loved ones say visitors need to be allowed in again.

“Their quality of life matters, and whatever they’re doing now clearly isn’t working,” said Cathy Williams.

Her parents, Liz and Roger, are both in nursing homes.

They’re at separate facilities in Strongsville and Brunswick.

At least 1,949 nursing homes residents have died of Covid-19, according to the latest numbers from the Ohio Department of Health.

At least 6,735 residents and 3,193 staff tested positive for the virus since April 15, bringing the total cases of Covid-19 in nursing homes to 9,928.

That’s up nearly 550 cases in one week.

19 Investigates found Cuyahoga County is now ranked third in the state for deaths in nursing homes.

But we also learned there aren’t a lot of large clusters of the virus in Northeast Ohio nursing homes like there were before.

“Anytime there is a flu outbreak, whether you call it the flu or not, a virus outbreak, there’s going to be a portion of the population that’s more susceptible or vulnerable,” Williams said.

She said her mom has not been allowed out of her room since mid-March.

“So she’s not even able to sit in the hallway in her wheelchair and visit or communicate with another resident,” she said.

Williams worries about her mother’s mental health.

“I’m more worried about that then my 85-year-old mother getting Covid-19, to be perfectly honest with you,” she said.

An announcement about visitation in nursing homes could come any day from Governor Mike DeWine.

Families have not been able to see their loved ones in person now for three months.

Williams hopes that changes soon.

“It’s awful, it’s completely awful,” she said.

Nursing home residents still make up about 70 percent of all Covid-19 deaths in the state.

Nationwide, more than 43,000 residents and staff have died from the virus, according to data from the Kaiser Family Foundation.

Experts warn that’s likely an undercount.

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