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COVID Positive Nursing Home Workers Are on the Job in Ohio Because of Staff Shortages

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Asymptomatic workers who have tested positive for COVID-19 are being asked to keep working in nursing homes in Ohio to help with staffing levels.

More than 30,000 nursing home residents in Ohio have tested positive for COVID-19 since April. And nearly 21,000 nursing home workers have tested positive during the same period. Advocates for those workers say that situation is worsening.

Anthony Caldwell with the Service Employees International Union of Ohio says nursing homes remain short-staffed and that's why some workers are going to work, even after a positive coronavirus diagnosis.

“Asymptomatic nursing home workers are being compelled to go to work and continue to provide care, even if they are COVID positive," Caldwell said.

He says the problem is exacerbated by many nursing homes lacking personal protective equipment. And Caldwell says it’s great that nursing home residents and workers are priorities for the vaccine.  But he notes some workers might need time off because of possible vaccine side effects.

When asked about the situation at today's press conference on COVID-19, Gov. Mike DeWine said it was the first he had heard about that situation. DeWine said it would be “totally outrageous and that would be wrong," if it is true. He said his staff will check into the situation.
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