COLUMBUS — As part of the State of Ohio’s ongoing efforts to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) within long-term care facilities, the Ohio Department of Aging (ODA) and the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) are encouraging facilities to exercise recommendations to prevent the spread of germs as provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
While there have been no confirmed COVID-19 cases in Ohio, “we must be prepared for this possibility and take steps to prevent the spread of the disease, including in long-term care facilities,” said a letter sent this week to facility administrators.
“Exercising good hand-washing, cough etiquette, and other preventive measures can significantly reduce the risk of contracting any respiratory illness,” said ODH Director Amy Acton, MD, MPH. “COVID-19 symptoms, which generally appear two to 14 days after exposure, include fever, cough, and difficulty breathing. Most people who become sick do not require hospitalization, but older adults, people with chronic health conditions, and people with compromised immune systems are more likely to require more advanced care.”
“Being mindful of these precautions can protect older Ohioans and our most vulnerable residents from COVID-19,” added ODA Director Ursel J. McElroy.
CDC’s guidance recommends posting signs inside long-term care facilities providing instruction on preventing the spread of germs by hand-washing, exercising cough etiquette, and other facility-specific actions in order to prevent the introduction of viruses in a facility and between facilities.
ODH and ODA are offering resources and assistance to facilities to address this issue, including:
- CDC guidance for long term care facilities: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/healthcare-facilities.
- CDC online “Nursing Home Infection Preventionist Training”: https://www.cdc.gov/longtermcare/training.html.
- Education materials available on the ODH COVID-19 website: www.coronavirus.ohio.gov.
There are approximately 2.8 million Ohioans over age 60.The State has also established www.coronavirus.ohio.gov to serve as a resource for updated information about the virus in Ohio.