Nursing home workers can skip COVID-19 tests if vaccinated

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, May 5, 2021

COLUMBUS (AP) — Fully vaccinated employees in Ohio’s nursing homes and assisted living facilities will no longer have to undergo twice-weekly testing for the coronavirus, Gov. Mike DeWine announced Monday in an effort to boost worker vaccination rates.

A person is considered fully vaccinated two weeks after receiving the second of the Moderna or Pfizer doses or the one-shot Johnson and Johnson vaccine. The change is consistent with federal guidelines, DeWine said.

“We hope that this change will give encouragement to those who work in nursing homes who have not been vaccinated yet,” DeWine said.

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Vaccination rates among long-term care facility residents have been nearly universal, but are much lower for employees. The governor’s announcement also comes as the number of people getting vaccines has decreased steadily in recent weeks.

On April 8, more than 100,000 people completed the vaccination process, a figure that fell to fewer than 37,000 as of Friday, according to Health Department data.

Overall, more than than 4.7 million people in Ohio have received at least one shot of the vaccine as of this week, or about 40 percent of the population. More than 3.8 million people, or about 33 percent of the population, have completed the process.