ALLEGHENY TOWNSHIP (KDKA) — As portions of the state continue to loosen restrictions, questions surrounding coronavirus cases inside nursing homes are increasing.
The Department of Health has not yet released specific data for each facility in the state after Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine said it would happen last week.
“I think there was some hope that it would be reported last week, but the data started being collected yesterday and we start the reports tomorrow,” Levine said on Monday.
Right now, facilities across the state are not required to report the total number of confirmed cases to local officials or families.
Brenda Ribet’s 89-year-old mother tested positive at Pleasant Ridge Mature Living in Allegheny Township.
She said if she knew how many cases are in her mother’s home and the number of deaths, she would feel more at ease.
“I would say it’s been at least a month that they said she tested positive, and we’ve never heard anything since. I don’t know if they have been tested again or how often they do test them. I do not know,” Ribet said.
KDKA called the facility to see if we could get more information for Ribet, but the manager said no comment.
Facility management did release the following statement last week on social media about COVID-19 inside the personal care home.
“First and foremost, we would like to take the opportunity to thank our health care heroes at Pleasant Ridge. They have worked hard and put themselves on the front line at the risk of their own health and well-being. Their dedication and care for the residents has been phenomenal and we are very proud of the entire Pleasant Ridge team.
“We have tested all of our residents for Coronavirus. We have a number of residents that have tested positive. We have been extremely transparent with our resident families and with all agencies involved. We are in constant communication with the Department of Health, The Department of Human Services and Area Office of Aging. We are and have been following guidelines from the CDC and DOH. The DOH, Allegheny Township, Westmoreland Public Safety and ERCI Infection Prevention Consultants have provided us with the PPE and guidance needed.
“We set forth visiting restrictions and we continue to screen our staff and our residents per the CDC guidelines. We have worked closely with area hospitals and local EMS in transporting and caring for our residents when needed.
“When spread occurs in a facility, it doesn’t indicate that the facility has done anything wrong. Spread happens primarily due to asymptomatic residents, employees, visiting nurses, doctors, hospice caregivers and other necessary providers passing our screening process but who are nonetheless contagious.
“We appreciate all those who have reached out to help and to give our dedicated team encouragement to work through this difficult time. Thank you for all of the positive thoughts and understanding during this pandemic.”
Allegheny Township Manager Greg Primm said the township was first notified that the facility had multiple positive cases in mid-March but never knew specific numbers.
“As of today’s date, it’s pretty much status quo as it has been the last few weeks. We are just aware of outbreaks in the facility and that we have helped them with PPE at this point,” Primm said.
Primm said township officials believe the outbreak is contained in the facility, but want the families to have the information.
Ribet is hopeful that the state will provide the specific numbers for her mother’s home by the end of the week.
“Give us some comfort. There are not that many people there, they can’t have somebody call?” Ribet said.
Dr. Levine said facilities had until Monday to submit the information. If one misses the deadline, the state will continue to push until the management complies.