© 2024 Ideastream Public Media

1375 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland, Ohio 44115
(216) 916-6100 | (877) 399-3307

WKSU is a public media service licensed to Kent State University and operated by Ideastream Public Media.
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
WKSU, our public radio partners in Ohio and across the region and NPR are all continuing to work on stories on the latest developments with the coronavirus and COVID-19 so that we can keep you informed.

COVID surge puts Ohio's nursing homes in a difficult situation.

 hallway in a nursing home
Kiselev Andrey Valerevich
hallway in a nursing home

Like Ohio’s hospitals, the lobby group for nursing homes reports many of those in the Buckeye State are short-staffed due to the surge in COVID cases.

The Ohio Health Care Association’s Pete Van Runkle says about 84% of residents in nursing homes are vaccinated, and when those residents get COVID now, he says they aren’t as sick as they were earlier in the pandemic. Now, he says nursing home workers are the ones who are getting sick. Van Runkle says 66% of workers in nursing homes are vaccinated, leaving about a third who aren’t.

“About 65% of the cases we are seeing presently in long-term care, that’s broader than skilled nursing but mainly skilled nursing, are staff cases,” Van Runkle says.

 Ohio National Guard members helping out at Ohio State University hospitals
Ohio State University
Ohio National Guard members helping out at Ohio State University hospitals

Van Runkle says staff illness is one reason many nursing homes are short-staffed right now. He explains many are forced to hire expensive temporary nursing services to be able to take care of patients. He also says nursing homes are often forced to lower capacities at their facilities. And, to make matters worse, he says many workers are leaving nursing home jobs because they are simply burnt out from the weight of the pandemic.

Ohio National Guard members have been helping to relieve some of the staffing shortages in hospitals. And Van Runkle says while there are a couple of nursing facilities that have received similar help, most of them are left trying to figure out how to deal with staffing issues on their own.

Copyright 2022 The Statehouse News Bureau. To see more, visit The Statehouse News Bureau.

Jo Ingles is a professional journalist who covers politics and Ohio government for the Ohio Public Radio and Television for the Ohio Public Radio and Television Statehouse News Bureau. She reports on issues of importance to Ohioans including education, legislation, politics, and life and death issues such as capital punishment. Jo started her career in Louisville, Kentucky in the mid 80’s when she helped produce a televised presidential debate for ABC News, worked for a creative services company and served as a general assignment report for a commercial radio station. In 1989, she returned back to her native Ohio to work at the WOSU Stations in Columbus where she began a long resume in public radio.