COLUMBUS, Ohio — Applause rang out Friday morning in the parking lot of Crown Pointe Care Center where Gov. DeWine and other civic leaders – including Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther – welcomed the arrival of the COVID-19 vaccine for patients in long-term care facilities.
Three Columbus facilities – Crown Pointe Care Center, Highbanks Care Center and Woodview Care and Rehabilitation – were among the first in the state receive the vaccines for its patients.
Long-term care facilities have been hard hit during the pandemic, recording nearly 4,000 deaths since the state began publishing COVID-19 data regarding long-term care facilities in mid-April.
The latest wave of COVID-19 infections also hasn’t spared nursing homes.
The latest figures published by the state’s coronavirus website show that Crown Pointe has 35 patients who have tested positive for COVID-19.
DeWine told those who gathered how important the vaccinations are and spoke of how he and his wife, Fran, had recently lost a close friend to COVID in an assisted living center.
“We know that for families in Ohio, to know that we have started vaccinating in nursing homes. And that fairly soon their loved ones get a vaccination is so very, very important," DeWine said.
But 10 Investigates found three Columbus long-term care facilities that received the COVID vaccine all have had received recent plans of correction related to patient care – one at Woodview involving failing to give a patient their medication; another at Highbanks regarding a patient who broke a window and went AWOL. Those did not involve COVID; but the one issued at Crown Pointe did.
While Crown Pointe Care Center is now said to be in compliance, according to state inspection data, during a late October inspection, a state health inspector found four residents “in the common area...without masks on.”
A nurse who was later interviewed said that they resided in the 500 hallway and that two other residents in that area were diagnosed as having COVID-19. Those two patients were moved.
Despite that, the facility was given a plan of correction where it conducted checks “encouraging residents, including those on the dementia unit, to wear masks and socially distance themselves outside of their rooms.” That plan of correction was completed late last month.
A voice message left for the facility Friday afternoon was not immediately returned.
Dan Tierney, a spokesman for Governor DeWine’s office, gave us this emailed response:
“The nursing home sites identified to receive vaccines today were selected in partnership with their administering pharmacy based on geography, population, and access to ultra-cold storage capacity.
It is not uncommon for any facility with special populations, such as nursing homes, to have incidents that lead to a state investigation. Once the state surveyor confirms the issue, it is then critical for the facility to come back into compliance quickly and work to prevent incidents from happening again.
Also, keep in mind, that this is not a trial, but a scaling up of the federal vaccination program just one business day before vaccinations begin at nursing homes across the country on Monday. Every nursing home resident and caregiver deserves COVID-19 vaccines. Past citations are no reason to withhold a life-saving vaccine from residents in need of this vital new layer of protection.”