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Staff Writer

While nursing homes in Bluffton and Leipsic have reported large numbers of illnesses and deaths related to the coronavirus pandemic, as of Friday, no Hancock County nursing home cases had been reported.

Twenty Allen County residents and 13 Putnam County residents who resided in long-term care facilities have died of the virus, according to the Ohio Department of Health’s website.

The Putnam County Health Department confirmed Friday that the Meadows of Leipsic is the only nursing home in that county which has had an outbreak. The Meadows of Leipsic referred a request for comment to Trilogy Health Services’ corporate office, which did not respond to The Courier’s attempts to reach them by phone or by email. The Meadows of Leipsic has had a total of 41 resident and 11 staff cases in its nursing home, and six resident cases in assisted living, since the outbreak began, the state reports.

Putnam County Health Commissioner Kim Rieman said many of the county’s cases are related to the Meadows of Leipsic, although “we are seeing community spread” in Putnam County. (The county had reported 82 confirmed and two probable cases of the virus in total, as of Thursday.)

The 20 Allen County deaths include residents of Mennonite Memorial Home in Bluffton, but other nursing homes in that county have also been affected.

Mennonite Memorial Home has had 30 resident cases since the outbreak began, including one current case; and nine staff cases, including three current cases, the state reported.

CareCore at Lima has had 27 resident cases and 10 staff cases, and six other Allen County nursing homes have had at least one case associated with them, according to the state’s figures.

By April 22, Mennonite Memorial Home had reported eight deaths and 11 other resident illnesses, as well as nine staff illnesses. Staff there, too, declined a request for an interview this week, but referred The Courier to press releases.

“This pandemic has been a tragedy for Mennonite Memorial Home, as it would be for any facility. Behind every COVID-19 data point is a human being,” said board chairwoman Elizabeth Kelly in the most recent of those press releases. “Under layers of PPE are professionals who have worked around the clock to care for each resident. Surrounding us are caring and worried families and communities.” Hancock County is not mentioned at all on the state’s nursing home COVID-19 website. Ohio Department of Health spokeswoman Melanie Amato said the state gets its information from local health departments.

Chad Masters, director of health promotion and planning for Hancock Public Health, said in an email Friday that the county is not on the website because there have been no cases in long-term care settings in Hancock County.

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