Fully vaccinated staff members of long-term care facilities and nursing homes will no longer be required to undergo routine testing for COVID-19, according to a new health order signed on Tuesday.
The new orders, signed by Ohio Department of Health Director Stephanie McCloud, say that any staff member who has taken a coronavirus vaccine no longer has to be routinely testing for COVID-19. Staff members are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after the final dose of a coronavirus vaccine, regardless of whether they took a two-dose or one-dose vaccine.
NEW ➡ Fully vaccinated staff in nursing homes and assisted living facilities will be exempt from required routine testing. Employees not fully vaccinated must be tested 2x per week.
— Governor Mike DeWine (@GovMikeDeWine) May 3, 2021
All unvaccinated staff are required to be tested twice per week. Staff members are considered unvaccinated even if they have taken a vaccine, but have not yet passed the two-week threshold.
The new orders also require a COVID-19 test for staff members who are showing symptoms of the coronavirus or if a staff member or resident is diagnosed with COVID-19.
Ohio nursing homes and other long-term care facilities have seen more than 50,000 cases of the coronavirus among residents and more than 36,000 cases among staff over the course of the pandemic, according to data from the Ohio Department of Health. They have also seen more than 7,000 deaths.
Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine said in March that 90 percent of nursing homes and 74 percent of assisted living facilities had completed online program registration and shared how they planned to make the vaccine available.
More than 370,000 Ohio residents over the age of 80 have received the vaccine, roughly 75 percent of the age group, according to the ODH. More than 275,000 of those ages 75 to 79, or roughly 77 percent of the age group, have been vaccinated.
More than 40 percent of all Ohioans have been vaccinated.
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