AVON LAKE, Ohio — Coronavirus cases in nursing homes aren't doubling, but quadrupling across the country, and experts say it is the same story here in Ohio.
Avon Lake resident Sam Hemoud understands that cases are rising, but he has a burning desire to see his father, who is currently in a nursing home.
"It’s mentally and psychologically…it's tough on them," Hemoud said. "It seems like every week there is a positive test there which puts us back two weeks from an in-person visit, so it's leading to frustrations but we are trying to be patient."
Hemoud has not been able to see his father for a month, and his only option at this point in time is to smile at him through a window.
According to an Associated Press analysis of federal data from 20 states, including Ohio, new weekly cases among nursing home residents rose nearly four-fold from the end of May to late October, from 1,083 to 4,274. Resident deaths more than doubled, the study concluded.
Pete Van Runkle, Executive Director of the Ohio Health Care Association, says that is true and Ohio is currently seeing a similar trend.
"Why that's happening is because, as we saw today with 6,500 cases in Ohio just today, there is incredible community spread throughout the entire state," he said.
The AP says weekly cases among nursing home staff have also more than quadrupled from May to October.
"Our employees are people who live and travel about and do things in the community," Van Runkle said. "They are susceptible to that community spread. What is happening in society is going to happen in long-term care."
For Hemoud, he understands the risk, but he also understands his dad needs to see him.
"Someone has to advocate for dad," he said. "These are the patriarchs in the family, and we feel like we are kind of going backwards."
Van Runkle knows the feeling all too well.
"I can tell them that I feel for them because I'm one of them," he lamented. "My mother is in an assisted living facility and I haven't been able to see her for a month now, and it’s extremely hard."