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COVID-19 cases plummet in Ohio nursing homes 2 months after vaccinations begin

The Parma facility that was among the first to receive the shots reports just one new case in the last three weeks.

PARMA, Ohio — COVID-19 cases within Ohio nursing homes are dramatically lower after residents and staff were among the first in the state to get the coronavirus vaccine.

Two months ago, Pleasantview Care Center in Parma was one of the first facilities in the state to receive the vaccine. Gov. Mike DeWine spoke outside the nursing home on Dec. 18 as shots started within the walls of the facility.

"What's going to happen in the next month, next six weeks [is] we get the first shot, and then the second shot is really going to throw a blanket around nursing homes," he said at the time.

3News went back to Pleasantview this week to see the difference within the two-month period. Director of Nursing Emily Mahnen says she believes the vaccine is working: According to the state's website, the nursing home has seen 136 resident cases and 86 staff cases since the pandemic started. However, it has seen only one case in the last three weeks, Mahnen tells us.

The same is true throughout much of Cuyahoga County, where many facilities report few (if any) recent cases. An earlier 3News investigation found more than 60% of coronavirus deaths in the state are nursing home residents, and the governor attributes the current decline in cases at the facilities to the dramatic drop in coronavirus hospitalizations throughout the state of Ohio.  

Aside from caring for residents, Mahnen and her staff opened a 50-bed coronavirus unit for patients not affiliated with the nursing home.

"We were full on many occasions, waiting for people to come in to get the care that they needed," she said. "[But] we have not had anyone in that unit for two weeks."

Currently, Pleasantview Care Center is not allowing visitors, though Mahnen hopes to reunite families again soon.

"We just want to get to the point where we can welcome family and visitors back in have a party with everyone when it's over."