BEAVER COUNTY, Pa. (KDKA) — A Beaver County nursing home is operating under the assumption that all of their staff members and patients already are positive cases of Coronavirus.
According to a press release from the Brighton Rehabilitation & Wellness Center, they say all staff and patients will be treated as if they already have the virus.
They’re proceeding with these presumptive positive measure to protect everyone.
Over the weekend, a union representative from the nursing home reported at least 42 of the 450 patients living there tested positive and three had died. The union says 10 of the more than 300 workers had tested positive.
Last night, the nursing home spoke with the Department of Health and they decided to no longer count test results there. They will instead isolate and aggressively treat anyone showing symptoms.
They believe it will allow everyone to be more protected from anyone who is asymptomatic.
Staff are using N95 masks and other protective equipment to keep themselves safe, as they are now presuming the almost 800 people living or working at the facility have the virus.
A woman whose mother is a resident at Brighton Rehabilitation and Wellness Center said she has no idea if her mom has COVID-19 or whether or not she’s been tested.
She said if her mom should come down with symptoms, she will get a call. She said that hasn’t happened yet.
Her mom is Dorothy Umstead, 78. She’s been living at the facility since July of last year.
“That is heartbreaking. It’s absolutely heartbreaking. A lot of those people have children at home. The people that work there,” said Dorothy’s daughter Judith Marie. “Are they really testing? Are they testing after they’re sick? I don’t know.”
“If they have mild symptoms there’s really no necessity to test them,” said Dr. Rachel Levine with the Pennsylvania Department of Health. “Of course if they have significant symptoms that require medical treatment, then they would go to a hospital to be assessed and then the hospital would decide on testing. That idea of probable cases is something we are working on.”
KDKA reached out to the employees union, which is expected to have a statement later today.
Brighton Rehab and Wellness Center sent a statement which reads in full:
Please note at this time our full focus must be to ensure the health, safety and welfare of our residents and staff. Accordingly, we are not providing live interviews.
With this said, there has been a misunderstanding that we desire to clarify. By presuming every staff member and resident may be positive and treating symptoms, not test results, we are doing what we believe every facility and every person in the nation should do. We are not saying that every person in our facility, any more than every person on a cruise ship, who went to a certain party, or who lives in New York City, is positive. We believe there is an unidentifiable percentage of people who are inadvertently spreading COVID19 to others because they do not have symptoms and/or tested negative on a test, which may be a false negative, or no longer accurate by the time results are communicated. We do not believe a negative test means a person has not already had exposure that will cause COVID19 symptoms, nor that a positive test does not mean a person will ever become ill. We also strongly believe asymptomatic people can transmit the virus to others.
We join with an increasing number of healthcare professionals who are urging all Americans to presume you are positive and to take action to prevent the virus you may carry from spreading to others. We also ask you to presume that your seemingly healthy neighbors are positive as well. We are asking the same from each and every member of our staff and asking them to act as if each of them and each resident may be positive so that we slow the spread.
If someone does exhibit symptoms, we believe that person should be treated aggressively. We will continue some testing when it is necessary for diagnostic purposes, in order to help determine appropriate treatment. We will continue our vigilant efforts to contain the virus. From an early stage we have been limiting visitors and taking all other recommended precautions, and as more information is known we will continue to update our strategy.
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