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Nursing home staffing and PPE shortages pose threat as COVID-19 cases surge in Ohio and nationwide, new data shows

New data from the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services showed that 33.9% of Ohio nursing homes did not have one week supply of critical PPE equipment.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — As Ohio's COVID-19 cases continue to surge, nursing home residents and workers continue to face difficult conditions and vulnerability to the virus.

According to new data from AARP, 84,000 residents and nursing home works have died nationwide from COVID-19 so far.

In Ohio, the ongoing COVID-19 crisis has been seen across the state, sometimes at severe levels. 

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"Nursing home and other workers go to work each day, where they often wear protective equipment and the pandemic is a constant concern," said Anthony Caldwell, director of public affairs for SEIU district 1199. "Nursing home staffing has always been a concern but at many facilities, staffing levels have further deteriorated. Transmission of COVID-19 has been highly prevalent within nursing home facilities."

A new analysis of data from the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services by AARP reflects that 34.6% of Ohio nursing homes were experiencing a shortage of workers over the course of a four-week period ending on September 20, 2020.

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The data also discovered that 33.9% of nursing homes in Ohio did not have a one week supply of all critical PPE equipment over the same time period. 

"These workers were not cared for before this pandemic and this is a deepening crisis. Policymakers at all levels of government, long-term care corporations, and nursing home operators, must work together to ensure access to personal protective equipment and that there is safe staffing for nursing home residents," Caldwell continued.

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