Levine Says State Has Worked 'Tirelessly' To Mitigate COVID Spread In Nursing Homes

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HARRISBURG, Pa (Newsradio 1020 KDKA) - The Wolf administration said it is continuing its efforts mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in long-term care facilities.

“Throughout this pandemic, the Department of Health and our partners have worked tirelessly to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, especially in vulnerable communities like long-term care facilities,” Secretary of Health Dr. Levine said. “Our ongoing mitigation efforts are working to stop this virus before spreading further and we will not stop as long as COVID-19 remains a threat in our communities. We will continue to do everything in our power to provide support and resources to facilities for their staff and residents to ensure they are safe from this dangerous virus.”

In a release, the administration lists these actions that the Department of Health has taken:

  • Completed 100 percent completion of the baseline universal testing in nursing homes. 
  • Ordered all other long-term care facilities to complete the baseline universal testing.
  • Pushed out over 2,500 shipments of PPE to date, which has included more than 315,000 gowns, more than 350,000 face shields, more than 1 million gloves, more than 2.8 million N95 masks and nearly 1.2 million surgical masks.
  • Deployed 69 Pennsylvania National Guard Strike Teams to 34 different LTCFs.
  • Responded to 100 percent of outbreaks, defined as one or more confirmed positive case among staff or residents, in LTCFs.
  • Provided advice and consultation on infection control and outbreak response to facilities where needed.
  • Collaborated, partnered and received report from local, state and federal resources, along with contracted support from ECRI.

At Brighton Rehab and Wellness Center, more than 80 residents died as a result of COVID-19.

A state Department of Health reports says inspectors found staff without masks, failed to use social distancing and improperly disinfected items.

In addition, a report said the nursing home administered hydroxychloroquine to residents without state approval - something the medical director of the facility denies.

U.S. Representative Conor Lamb is calling for an investigation into Pennsylvania's oversight of the coronavirus outbreak at Brighton Rehab.

In early July, Secretary Levine said the number of cases in long-term care facilities "is directly correlated to the prevalence of COVID-19 in the county where it was located. So, that really has been the driving force behind the number of cases that we saw."

Brighton was the hardest hit long-term care home in PA during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

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