Trumbull Ramps Up Efforts to Assist Nursing Homes

WARREN, Ohio – Increases in staffing to expand contact tracing for coronavirus infection outbreak control, strike teams for nursing homes and assisted living centers and aggressive measures by employers and employees to practice health protocols are measures being implemented in Trumbull County for Ohio’s restart, says Health Commissioner Frank Migliozzi.

The Trumbull County Combined Health District is working with the Ohio Department of Health and the local Emergency Operations Center and members to work with area long-term care facilities that are experiencing outbreaks of COVID-19, the disease spread by coronavirus. 

Migliozzi says the state is pushing out more tests and testing by private companies to congregate area senior care centers that have been hotspots for positive cases of COVID-19. Health department workers also are working with the facilities on ways to control infectious disease spread, such as isolation plans, and will focus on contact tracing where positive cases are detected to help mitigate the spread.

O’Brien Memorial Nursing Home, Masury, has had 17 residents and one staff member test positive for the virus. Trumbull County has 23 residents and two staff members in five different facilities who have tested positive. 

Nursing homes and assisted living centers have been under siege by the highly contagious and deadly virus throughout the nation. Overall, the state reports that 276 residents at long-term care centers have died from COVID-19 since April 15.

“We have a team for rapid response and monitoring for hotspots. We’re working with the facilities to improve the amount of personal protective equipment and testing needs,” Migliozzi said during a conference call Friday.

He added that expanding contact tracing will mean hiring additional staff and will include help with workers from the state. 

“We’re talking with nursing schools and using medical students and retired community health workers as well using workers from the state pool to enhance our tracing efforts,” Migliozzi says.

James Pantalone, director of Trumbull County Emergency Operations Center, said a large shipment of personal protective equipment has been sent to area senior care centers. Pantalone says a burn rate calculator for personal protective equipment was given to facilities along with a training video. A burn rate is how fast and how much protective equipment is being used daily per shift and per facility. 

He also says two and a half weeks ago fire chiefs, EOC officials and doctors sent protocols to area nursing homes for transporting COVID-19 positive or probable patients to hospitals. The goal is to maintain emergency frontline workers’s safety, prevent overwhelming the hospitals and to conserve personal protective equipment.

He points out there was a problem with one facility that was transporting a number of patients and after working directly with the director, it was dealt with and has made a huge impact.

“We feel like we had to get ahead of it. Basically, we provided trainings and protocol with clinical directors on transporting emergent and non-emergent patients to the hospital,” he said.

Migliozzi says all businesses need to follow protocols of social distancing, staying six feet apart, wearing masks by employees and visitors and consumers and doing health screenings. 

Anyone who has complaints about businesses not following protocols should call 330 675 7841.

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