Coronavirus In Ohio: Testing All Nursing Home Residents And Staff Could Cost $25 Million

May 20, 2020

Ohio has one of the largest populations of nursing homes residents in the country. The cost to test residents and staff for the coronavirus is one of the highest in the nation as well: $25 million.

Ohio has about 72,000 people living in nursing facilities, and 94,000 staff members. Only a few states have larger numbers, according to figures from the American Health Care Association and the National Center of Assisted Living.

The groups estimate it would cost $24,950,250 to test all of Ohio's nursing home residents and staff just once for COVID-19, more than all other states except Florida, New York, Texas and California.

Testing once per person in every nursing home in the country would cost a total of $440 million. 

The CDC recently recommended that nursing home staff be tested weekly. It's unclear if Ohio nursing homes are complying with that recommendation: The Ohio Department of Health does not keep track of how much testing has been done in those facilities. 

As of this week, the health department reports that 4,082 nursing home residents and 1,810 staff have tested positive for COVID-19. 

There have been over 670 deaths in long-term care facilities since April 15. That makes up about 37% of all COVID-19 deaths in the state.

Gov. Mike DeWine announced Tuesday that the Ohio National Guard would begin mass testing in long-term care facilities around the state.