HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP/KDKA) – Pennsylvania’s top prosecutor has opened criminal investigations into several nursing homes amid a coronavirus outbreak that has killed 2,600 nursing home residents.
Nursing home deaths account for more than two-thirds of the state’s death toll.
WATCH: KDKA’s Jennifer Borrasso reports on AG Shapiro’s Criminal Investigation
One local nursing home hit hard is the Brighton Rehab and Wellness Center, where more than 70 residents have died and 300 have tested positive. The Pennsylvania Department of Health reports nursing home residents at three facilities in Beaver County make up 324 of the county’s 493 cases and 71 of its 78 deaths.
The attorney general’s office isn’t saying how many facilities it is investigating, or revealing their names or any other details about the specific allegations.
Attorney General Josh Shapiro said Tuesday his office will hold “nursing facilities and caretakers criminally accountable if they fail to properly provide care to our loved ones.”
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‘Under Pennsylvania law, Neglect of a Care-Dependent Person occurs under a high threshold of certain circumstances when the caretaker of a person fails to properly provide for their health, safety, and welfare,” a press release said.
“The Attorney General’s Neglect Team reviews allegations regarding specific instances of mistreatment of care-dependent adults who are endangered or suffer injury resulting from caretaker neglect to determine whether criminal charges are appropriate, and if so, prosecutes such cases.”
The announcement comes the same day Gov. Tom Wolf’s administration announced his administration will undertake the surveillance testing, with a goal of testing every resident and employee once a week, given the pandemic’s tremendous toll on nursing homes.
Brighton Rehab and Wellness Center has been in the spotlight.
Congressman Conor Lamb is calling for state and federal investigations into the facility.
“The elderly and the patents in these nursing homes deserve every bit of help that anybody else would,” said Keri Boyer, whose father died from COVID-19 at Brighton.
She believes the government should have stepped in sooner.
“Their response was too long,” said Boyer. “It’s not going to bring my dad back.”
Shapiro’s office launched a public email for criminal complaints and reports of neglect: neglect-COVID@attorneygeneral.gov.
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