PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The Pennsylvania Department of Health has released statistics on the number of coronavirus cases in the state’s long-term care facilities.
WATCH: KDKA’s Lindsay Ward with more details on the coronavirus-related deaths in long-term care facilities.
Before this, facilities across the state were not required to report the total number of confirmed cases to local officials or families. Families have told KDKA they’ve been left in the dark, wondering what’s happening inside their loved ones’ facilities.
According to the numbers released Tuesday, by far the worst outbreak is in Brighton Rehab and Wellness Center in Beaver County where the state reports 358 coronavirus cases in residents. There are 76 people who have died there. The facility with the second-highest case count is Northampton County Home Gracedale with 205 cases.
The three other long-term care facilities hit hardest in our region are in Allegheny County: Kane Glen Hazel, St. Barnabas and Caring Heights Community Care and Rehab Center. Nearly 80 percent of the county’s total COVID-19 deaths have occurred in long-term care facilities.
WATCH: KDKA’s Pam Surano Reports More On The Coronavirus Numbers In Nursing Homes
At Glen Hazel, there have been 104 cases in residents and 21 deaths.
The state reports at St. Barnabas, half of the residents who have been infected have died. There have been 62 cases and 31 deaths.
Meanwhile, there are 65 cases in residents at Caring Heights Community Care and Rehab Center and 28 deaths.
Pennsylvania Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine says facilities with less than five cases or deaths will have their information redacted to “protect patient privacy.”
When it comes to reporting deaths, Dr. Levine says the state and CDC have different regulations than coroners.
“There is going to be differences between the county coroners’ data and our data in terms of deaths. If someone is living in that nursing home but didn’t go to the hospital, their residence is reported maybe at their previous home, but it’s not reported at the facility — that will impact our reporting,” Dr. Levine explained.
“So we have to report where their residence is listed as their place of death and the county coroners have reported differently. We have different sets of regulations and laws that govern our reporting, so they are bound to be some differences between their reporting numbers and our reporting numbers.”
“Long-term care facility residents are among the most vulnerable Pennsylvanians, and we want their families to have the latest information on what is going on in the facilities in which their loved ones reside,” Pennsylvania Secretary of Health Dr. Levine said in a press release.
“COVID-19 is a particularly challenging situation for these settings as they care for residents with serious medical conditions. We will continue to work to ensure the safety and wellbeing of residents through education, resources and testing.”
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The state health department numbers show there are 13,813 resident cases of COVID-19 in nursing and personal care homes across Pennsylvania. Among employees, there are 2,191 diagnosed cases. That brings the entire total to 16,003.
Out of the total deaths across Pennsylvania, state officials say 3,145 have occurred in residents from nursing or personal care facilities. The state is receiving test swabs from the federal government to ensure facilities have an adequate supply.
“We will continue to work to ensure the safety and well-being of residents through education resources and testing,” Dr. Levine said at a press conference. “In addition to these efforts, our quality assurance inspectors continue to conduct inspection control inspections at these facilities. Since the start of the outbreak, our inspectors have completed 465 infection control inspections. They also have 192 infection control surveys in progress.”
One way the Wolf administration says it will protect nursing home residents is by testing all patients and staff in long-term care facilities.
The state Health Department said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention sent three teams to the state to assist with coronavirus response.
You can find a spreadsheet on the health department’s website here.