Pennsylvania releases data on COVID-19 cases, deaths in nursing homes

Jeff Cole

Pennsylvania releases data on COVID-19 cases in nursing homes

FOX 29’s Jeff Cole reports on how the coronavirus has been affecting nursing homes as more data starts to become available

PENNSYLVANIA – Nearly 50 Pennsylvania nursing homes have reported 20 or more deaths related to COVID-19, according to partial data released by the state Department of Health.

The ManorCare Nursing Home sits off Providence Road in the Delaware County community of Wallingford. COVID-19 has hit hard here. According to the state, 151 residents caught the virus and 34 died.

In a statement, ManorCare wrote, “We have aggressively pursued and supported full house testing and work with hospitals and labs to make this happen.”

Not far from ManorCare in Media, Delaware County, stands Fair Acres, which is a county-run nursing home. State records show 155 residents contracted COVID-19 and 29 died.

Broomall Rehab and Nursing Center reports 40 deaths. The staggering numbers appear in a statewide tally of COVID-19 in nursing homes released by the Pa. Department of Health

RELATED: Nearly 50 Pa. nursing homes have reported 20 or more deaths related to COVID-19

“They don’t have a lot of resources, don’t have a lot of staff, don’t have experience with intensive infection control you need to handle this,” Philadelphia Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley said.

In Philadelphia, the city’s top doctor reports a full 64 percent of the over 1,100 Philadelphia COVID-19 deaths are in nursing homes.

COVID-19 has ravaged some of Pennsylvania’s aging veterans. The state-run Southeastern Veterans Center in Chester County has seen 35 deaths and 106 cases. Also, in Chester County, Green Meadows Nursing and Rehab Center, has 62 cases and 30 deaths

Adrienne Marofsky, public relations director for Delaware County, released the following statement:

“COVID-19 has greatly impacted both residents and staff at long-term care facilities across the nation and Delaware County has not been spared. Given their congregate nature and resident population served, (older adults often with underlying chronic medical conditions), long-term care facilities and personal care homes are at the highest risk of being affected by COVID-19.Fair Acres is high in both positive cases of residents and employees and deaths because it is an extremely large facility.  It is the largest stand-alone skilled nursing facility in the County.  It has over 900 licensed beds and generally has between 575 and 750 of those beds occupied.  In most weeks, the total number of residents and staff members at the facility is approximately 1500.  When you take into account the number of residents and employees at Fair Acres, the percentage of positive cases and the number of deaths is slightly below the average for nursing homes in the region.  Fair Acres has also been testing its residents and its staff.  Some facilities stopped testing after they were advised by the State that they had community spread and deemed all residents “presumed positive.”  As a result, additional positive cases resulting from tests were not reported.  Fair Acres has continued to test.  More tests will mean more positive results.  Fair Acres, like all of our long term care facilities, is doing the best it can under difficult circumstances.  It consults on a daily basis with the Chester County Health Department and is moving forward with its plan to separate positive and negative patients to limit the spread of the virus.The Chester County Health Department assists Fair Acres and all long-term care facilities and homes in Delaware County to identify cases, review practices, and manage the spread of COVID-19. Delaware County Council and various Delaware County Departments have been in constant communication with Fair Aces to address their needs and assist in areas including obtaining PPE and other resources.”

Annaliese Impink, Chief Experience Officer, SavaSeniorCare Consulting LLC., also released a statement saying:

“Providing quality care and keeping our residents and staff safe are our top priorities. We have implemented facility-wide testing at Broomall Health & Rehabilitation Center, which is one of the reasons we have seen an increase in cases. We can confirm that 171 residents at the Center have tested positive for COVID-19. Of those, many were asymptomatic. Thirty-three residents have recovered and sadly 47 have passed away due to the virus. We continue to take significant measures to protect all our residents and staff, including:  

Providing appropriate PPE, taking heightened precautions and adhering to protocols outlined by the Center for Disease Control (CDC).

Before every shift, we assess the health of our staff and screen all staff members and outside essential healthcare professionals for respiratory illness, which includes a temperature check.

If a staff member does not feel well, they have clear direction to stay home, and we have put in place a number of support mechanisms to help them during this time.

Restricting visitation at this time based on guidance from the CDC and the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).

We are working closely with the health authorities to follow their guidance  and will continue to be transparent with all information released to the authorities, family members and the wider public, while maintaining the dignity and privacy of each of our residents.  We appreciate the continued support of the long-term care community, and the agencies and associations that support us in our efforts.”

Joan Zlogar Nissley, communications director for PA Department of Military and Veterans Affairs, released a statement on Wednesday:

“Since the first cases of COVID-19 were confirmed in Pennsylvania, DMVA’s Veterans Homes have worked tirelessly to take every precaution and preventative measure possible to ensure the health and safety of our residents and staff. The majority of the approximately 1,300 residents we care for in our six homes are predominantly older and many have multiple complex health conditions which make them particularly susceptible to coronavirus. It is important to note that throughout our ongoing response efforts, we have remained in close communication with the families and loved ones of our residents to share updates and provide additional information, including the number of positive cases and/or deaths that have occurred in our facility as a result of COVID-19. Transparency is important to us, which is why we believe the Department of Health’s decision to publicly report the number of COVID-19 cases in each facility is a good step. We continue to be vigilant in our infection prevention and control plans and remain dedicated in doing everything we can to safeguard the health of our residents, and we remain committed to open, transparent communication and reporting.”

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