BEAVER, PA (KDKA) – As most counties in our region get the go-ahead to move into the final phase of reopening, the nation’s top health official met with our local business leaders.
Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar tells KDKA the message was clear after a roundtable discussion Friday afternoon. He said he met with business leaders and they’re ready to get back to work and reopen the economy.
“You know they are ready to roll, they have the business, they have the jobs, they just need their workers to come back,” said Azar.
Azar tells KDKA continuing to stay at home has consequences on your health. He believes it’s not “Health v. Economy”, but “Health v. Health.”
“We’ve seen that people aren’t getting cancer screenings, they are not getting their preventative care, they are not getting their pediatric vaccinations plus they aren’t getting cardiac procedures. Everyone of those has a real human consequence to health that is just as real and immediate as the risk for disease,” Azar said.
Secretary Azar says the Trump administration is concerned by the losses at Brighton Rehab. Right now, he says there is a federal investigation underway at the facility and findings will be released publicly when complete. @KDKA
— Nicole Ford (@NicoleFordTV) May 29, 2020
As our region moves to reopen, Azar wants to reassure business owners that the Trump administration has a six-part strategy in place to protect them in the case of any future outbreak.
Azar said it starts with surveillance, testing and containment. Then it moves to making sure the health care systems have adequate capacity and supply, plus treatment and vaccines.
“That six-part strategy is what should give our large businesses and small businesses and the people in our communities the confidence that we have the tools and strategy to reopen to get back to our schools, back to work and back to our communities,” Azar said.
As for the ongoing situation at Brighton Rehab and Wellness Center where there are 350 plus positive cases and 76 COVID-19 related deaths, Azar said a federal investigation into the facility is now underway.
“When you have this many deaths in one facility, you just have to send your federal inspectors in to make sure we find out what happened and demand accountability because at the end of the day these are our Medicaid and Medicare beneficiaries being put at risk,” Azar said.
Azar said the federal inspectors were in Beaver County from May 12 to 14 and the findings will be released to the public when complete.