COVID-19 hits Ohio Veterans Home in Sandusky

SANDUSKY, Ohio (WTVG) - COVID-19 can spread quickly, but for the past few months, one of the largest long-term care facilities in the state has avoided the problem.

However, this past week, four residents living at the Ohio Veterans Home in Sandusky tested positive for the virus.

"It's heartbreaking. We don't want out veterans to suffer from anything, especially COVID," says Terry Prince, Superintendent of the Ohio Veterans Homes.

Prince says staff members have been preparing for months, and those residents who test positive are placed in the enhanced care unit, which is separate from the rest of the residents.

"Now we can see the enemy and we can combat it. If we have an employee that is sick, we can send them home," says Prince.

As of Monday, 23 residents in the Sandusky home have COVID-19 along with three staff members, and more than 200 tests are still pending.

This weekend, the state mobilized quickly, testing every staff member and veteran living in the homes in Sandusky and Georgetown.

"These men and women served our country, they protected us and we must protect them," says Gov. Mike DeWine.

Today, the state rolled out a new resource to track the numbers. The public can view case updates on the Department of Veterans Services website and the state Coronavirus site. Meanwhile, family members also receive daily recorded updates from the facility.

In a matter of days the cases have multiplied exponentially, but Prince says with 500 people living in the Sandusky facility, he is confident the plan to protect will work.

"We are going to fight that to the last breath that we have to keep veterans safe," says Prince.