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Residents at several Valley long-term care facilities have been COVID-free for nearly a year.

At the peak of the pandemic, Ohio reported more than 2,800 new cases at long-term care facilities. This week, it reported just 70. A year into the pandemic, some Valley facilities have reported none at all.
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(Getty Images)

CINCINNATI — A dozen long-term care facilities in the Mahoning Valley haven’t reported any coronavirus infections among their residents since at least April 15, according to the latest state and federal data.

New COVID-19 cases and deaths in long-term care facilities have also been on a sharp decline in recent months, largely driven by vaccinations in the state, Gov. Mike DeWine said during a Thursday briefing on the state’s coronavirus response.

At the peak of Ohio’s COVID-19 outbreak in December, the state reported 2,832 new cases of coronavirus in a single week across the state’s long-term care facilities.

On Thursday, those facilities confirmed just 70 new cases in the past week, down from 157 new cases the week prior.

“It’s been great, great progress,” DeWine said. “Certainly, the thing that’s driving it down the hardest is vaccinations.”

Though the vast majority of Ohio’s nursing homes and more than three-quarters of its assisted living facilities have registered to receive additional doses of the coronavirus vaccine for residents and staff that missed prior clinics, there are still 243 facilities that haven’t.

“If you have figured out a way to get the vaccine, please let us know,” DeWine said Thursday, addressing those facilities. “If you’re not getting vaccines … you need to contact us.”

Mahoning Matters requested a list of those facilities from the governor’s office but it wasn’t immediately provided Thursday.

Long-term care facilities in the tri-county Mahoning Valley have reported more than 2,300 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and more than 500 COVID-19 deaths as of the week ending March 7, according to the latest dataset from the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

Mahoning Matters looked at the latest state and federal data and found 12 long-term care facilities in the Valley haven’t reported a single case of coronavirus among their residents for nearly a year:

Mahoning Matters found eight facilities with zero resident cases on the state’s COVID-19 dashboard for long-term care facilities, which began tracking cases after April 15: 

  • Canfield Place in Youngstown: Zero cases among residents, 3 cases among employees
  • Continuing Healthcare of Boardman: Zero cases among residents, 1 employee case
  • Heritage Manor in Youngstown: Zero cases among residents, 12 cases among employees
  • Inn at Ironwood in Canfield: Zero cases among residents, 1 employee case
  • Inn at Walker Mill in Boardman: Zero cases among residents, 4 cases among employees
  • Ivy Woods Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center in North Lima: Zero cases among residents, 1 employee case
  • Wickshire Poland: Zero cases among residents, 1 employee case

Concord Care Center of Hartford in Fowler doesn’t appear on the state’s list, suggesting it hasn’t reported any COVID-19 cases since April 15. That conflicts with the Centers data, however, which show the facility reported one resident case in November.

According to the Centers’ data — which includes COVID-19 cases and deaths reported before April 15 — there are another three facilities whose residents have been completely COVID-free during the pandemic:

  • Laurie Ann Nursing Home in Newton Falls: Zero cases among residents, 9 cases among employees
  • Maplecrest Nursing Home in Struthers: Zero cases among residents, 5 cases among employees
  • Vista Center in Lisbon: Zero cases among residents, 10 cases among employees

Other news

• According to the latest figures Thursday from the Ohio Department of Health, the state is reporting 995,785 confirmed or suspected cases of the coronavirus. There have been 19,828 confirmed or suspected cases in Mahoning County; 14,699 in Trumbull County; and 8,270 in Columbiana County.

• Statewide, the new adjusted COVID-19 death total is 17,992, including 562 in Mahoning County; 434 in Trumbull; and 214 in Columbiana. Mahoning County’s 561 reported COVID-19 deaths was eighth among Ohio’s 88 counties; Cuyahoga County had the most with 1,928. [DEATH DATA NOT UPDATED THURSDAY.]

• In nearby counties: Stark, 30,067 cases and 844 deaths; Portage, 11,417 cases and 185 deaths; and Ashtabula, 6,085 cases and 156 deaths. [DEATH DATA NOT UPDATED THURSDAY.]

• As of Thursday, the state has reported about 144 new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people in the past two weeks. That’s down from 155 cases last week and 180 cases the week prior. Over two weeks at the height of the pandemic in December, the state reported nearly 846 cases per 100,000 people. When the state reaches 50 cases per 100,000 people over two weeks, Gov. Mike DeWine has promised to lift all pandemic-related health orders.

• This week, several more Ohio counties dropped below the federal threshold to be categorized as having a “high incidence” of coronavirus transmission or seen their public health alert levels downgraded. The tri-county Mahoning Valley and its neighboring counties, however, all remain at Level 3 “red” alert and continue to have more than 100 new cases per 100,000 people over the prior two weeks — with the exception of Ashtabula County, which was downgraded to Level 2 “orange” alert.

Starting today, coronavirus vaccine eligibility opens up to Ohioans who are aged 40 and older, and another 766,000 Ohioans who have underlying medical conditions such as cancer, chronic kidney disease (CKD), chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), heart disease and obesity.

Gov. Mike DeWine said Thursday the state expects to begin receiving an additional 100,000 doses of the coronavirus vaccine from the federal government around the time vaccine eligibility opens up to all Ohioans aged 16 and older on March 29. That means the state is expecting to receive half-a-million doses each week moving forward, he said.

• When asked whether schools can soon expect guidance on conducting large events like proms or graduation ceremonies, Gov. Mike DeWine said state officials are preparing guidance, but “there’s not much in there that will surprise.” He suggested the guidance would include mask requirements and recommend events be conducted outdoors, if possible — “follow the practice we’ve learned in the past year,” he said.

• According to the Pennsylvania Department of Health on Thursday, there were 976,847 COVID-19 cases in the state which have led to 24,706 deaths. There have been 8.382 confirmed or suspected cases in Mercer County and 244 deaths; 6,335 cases in Lawrence County and 191 deaths. In Mercer County, 8,051 people have received the first of two vaccination doses and 19,089 have received both; in Lawrence County, 5,894 have received one dose; 10,872 have received both.

• Federal data shows Pennsylvania’s vaccination efforts sped up in the past week, the Department of Health said Thursday. To date, about 1.3 million residents have received two doses of the COVID-19 vaccines. Some 2.8 million have received at least one dose, so far.

• The Better Business Bureau is warning people to be wary of text and email surveys purporting to be about the COVID-19 vaccine. Though phony, the questionnaires look real and claim to be from reputable pharmaceutical companies such as Pfizer and Moderna. To avoid getting scammed, experts advise against clicking on unsolicited emails.

Justin Dennis

About the Author: Justin Dennis

Justin Dennis has been on the beat since 2011, covering crime, courts and public education. Dennis grew up in Poland and Salem and studied journalism and communications at Cleveland State University and University of Pittsburgh.
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