Coronavirus: Three Clark County long-term care facilities battle outbreaks

Northwood Skilled Nursing and Rehabilitation in Springfield reported 27 active cases of COVID-19 this week. Hasan Karim/Staff
Northwood Skilled Nursing and Rehabilitation in Springfield reported 27 active cases of COVID-19 this week. Hasan Karim/Staff

The Clark County Combined Health District is monitoring COVID-19 outbreaks at three long-term care facilities.

Northwood Skilled Nursing & Rehabilitation in Springfield, Vancrest of New Carlisle and Forest Glen Health Campus in Springfield all have experienced a sharp increase in cases within the last week, health department Commissioner Charles Patterson said.

As of Wednesday, Northwood had 25 active resident cases, two active staff cases and a total eight confirmed and one probable death, Vancrest had 13 active resident and five active staff cases and Forest Glen had 34 active resident cases, five active staff cases and one death, according to data from the health district.

“What we are seeing in the long-term cares is the byproduct of the virus circulating in the community,” Patterson said. “Unsuspecting employees and asymptomatic employees are accidentally bringing the virus to work.”

Current COVID-19 outbreaks at long-term care facilities in Clark County

Forest Glen released a statement that the “health and well-being of our residents and employees is always our first priority.”

“Therefore, we continue to take extra precautions to ensure that our campuses remain guarded against the spread of the viral infections,” the statement said. “These precautions are based on guidance released by the CDC, CMS and state and federal officials.”

The Springfield News-Sun reached out to Northwood and Vancrest about the outbreaks at their facilities and did not receive a response.

Patterson said a majority of cases were identified at two of the facilities, Vancrest and Forest Glen, due to testing by the Ohio Department of Health.

In late August, Interim ODH Director Lance Himes and Gov. Mike DeWine issued a health order expanding testing in long-term care facilities to any staff member or resident who wants one.

“These are fresh outbreaks. Testing was done on Thursday and Friday of last week and cases started coming in Saturday, Sunday and Monday,” Patterson said.

Patterson said the county isn’t actively monitoring any other long-term care facilities.

One outbreak that has slowed down was at Mercy Health Oakwood Village. The facility identified its first case of the virus in early August and the outbreak quickly peaked Aug. 19 with 24 employees and 28 residents testing positive for the virus in a single week.

Since that peak, the senior-living facility has seen a steady downturn in cases week-over-week. On Wednesday, the facility recorded just one staff case.

At one point, Oakwood Village was the largest long-term facility outbreak in the county with 63 total cumulative resident and staff cases and 12 deaths.

But this week, Northwood became the county’s largest long-term care facility to have an outbreak. With the assisted living facilities' new case count on Wednesday, it reported a cumulative total of 65 resident and staff cases.

Clark County’s first large long-term care facility outbreak started in April at Southbrook Care Center, a long-term and post-acute care facility in Springfield.

The care center recorded 38 total cumulative cases and three resident deaths as of late August when the outbreak was closed.

Clark County had 1,873 cases, 40 deaths and four probable deaths of the coronavirus as of Wednesday afternoon, according to ODH data.

Ohio reported 153,987 total cases and 4,804 deaths of the coronavirus on Wednesday, according to ODH. Between Tuesday and Wednesday, the state reported 1,080 new cases and 21 new deaths.

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