Ohio Nurses Disappointed with Hospitals Refusing to Release Numbers, Talk Safety Concerns

Hospitals should follow the lead of nursing homes and release COVID-19 numbers.


April 16, 2020

Molly Homan, Director of Communications
Ohio Nurses Association
614-746-9914 | mhoman@ohnurses.org

COLUMBUS, Ohio – The ONA is extremely disappointed with hospitals, such as the Ohio State Wexner Medical Center and the University of Cincinnati Medical Center, who are refusing to formally discuss safety concerns posed by registered nurses. The health and safety of healthcare workers is of critical importance during this pandemic, especially as the number in Ohio continues to rise with the latest statistics citing 21%, or 1 in 5, of those infected with COVID-19 being healthcare workers.

Furthermore, we find it imperative for hospitals to release the number of nurses and other healthcare workers who are positive for COVID-19 and quarantined due to possible exposure. ONA has heard from members that entire units at OSU Wexner Medical Center are closed because of infected workers, but those numbers remain unconfirmed because OSUWMC refuses to provide those statistics. These numbers not only inform needs for coverage and cross-training, but also the need for adequate PPE and safety practices that are overall essential to a well-functioning hospital. Additionally, Ohio needs these numbers to continue to make the case for the purchase, production and innovation surrounding PPE.

In addition, if these scenarios are happening at Ohio’s leading medical centers where nurses have a strong voice, ONA is left deeply concerned about the working conditions nurses are facing in the other hospitals across the state.
“In this time of pandemic, when one in five Covid cases are healthcare workers, it’s immoral that hospitals are refusing to meet with ONA to discuss the safety and health of employees and their patients. Because the virus is so contagious, healthcare workers are at risk each and every moment they care for their patients. We need to protect the protectors–that means getting them PPE but also listening to those with the frontline knowledge to tackle this disease. This week has been the deadliest week for many US states, with total Covid deaths topping 28,000. By silencing the voice of its workers, hospitals are needlessly putting more lives on the line, and for that they must be condemned,” stated Randi Weingarten, President of AFT, the national union affiliate of the Ohio Nurses Association.

“Nursing homes in Ohio have released the statistics relative to the number of COVID-19 in the interest of public safety. Bound by the same HIPAA regulations as nursing homes, hospitals should follow their lead. Nurses are once again stating the need for healthcare facilities to have effective and clear communication and collaboration with the frontline workers. This is simply a matter of safety,” stated Jessica Frymyer, chair of the Ohio Nurses Association’s Economic and General Welfare Commission.


About ONA: Formed in 1904, the Ohio Nurses Association is a powerful network of registered nurses who are committed to advancing nursing through education, political action and workplace advocacy. ONA is the leading voice of the approximately 190,000 professional registered nurses in Ohio. To become a member of the Ohio Nurses Association, visit www.ohnurses.org.