KENNEDY TOWNSHIP (KDKA) — A local legislator is calling for action after grim numbers were released by the state about the number of coronavirus infections and deaths at nursing homes.
Records released by the state Health Department on Tuesday show the outbreak at Brighton Rehab and Wellness Center is the worst among all Pennsylvania long-term care facilities.
At Brighton, 358 residents have contracted coronavirus and 76 have died.
Other local facilities with major outbreaks include Allegany County’s Kane Community Living Center in Glen Hazel.
The state says 104 residents have contracted the virus there and 21 have died.
At St. Barnabas Nursing Home in Richland Township, there have been 62 resident cases and 31 deaths.
At Caring Heights Community Care & Rehab Center, the state says 65 residents are infected and 28 have died.
State Rep. Rob Matzie wants to know why the state Health Department failed to intervene as the infection spread through the nursing homes.
Medicare inspection records show most of those facilities were cited for deficiencies in care and cleanliness.
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But only in the last two weeks did the state send the National Guard into Brighton and institute stronger testing and isolation measures.
“What took so long?” Rep. Matzie said. “That’s really the most frustrating thing. There was no plan of action by the facility, no plan of action by the state Department of Health to force the facility to ensure the residents were well taken care of.”
State Health Secretary Rachel Levine says the state has tried to ensure resident safety through testing, education and the distribution of protective equipment. But one state representative has called for her resignation over her handling the nursing home crisis.
“I remain committed to protecting the residents of Pennsylvania,” Levine said. “Wherever they live, wherever they go, whether it’s in a facility or at home, whether it’s in Philadelphia or Pittsburgh.”
You can find a spreadsheet on the health department’s website here.
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