Western Pennsylvania Long-Term Care Facilities Once Again Trying To Contain Coronavirus Outbreaks

BEAVER CO, PA (KDKA) – Beaver County made headlines with Brighton Rehab and Wellness Center at the beginning of the pandemic, but eventually, those numbers plateaued.

“That’s the biggest thing we learned from Brighton Rehab, is to have good communication on what’s going on up there because at the end of the day, we couldn’t go in there and see,” said Dan Camp, the chairperson of the Beaver County Commissioners.

Now the county has two other facilities with new active outbreaks. In fact, in the last month, the number of nursing home residents who tested positive in Beaver County increased by nearly 30 percent.

“We are having another nursing home having a pretty significant outbreak, so we are in contact with them to see if they have any needs from our EMS, our emergency management services department,” Camp said.

According to data from the Pennsylvania Department of Health, Beaver Valley Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center has 45 positive resident cases and 18 staff cases. That same data shows Providence Care Center has 100 positive resident cases, 70 staff cases and 13 deaths.

“Those residents of Providence Care Center will stay there. They aren’t leaving that facility, but whenever staff members go out into the public, that’s where the concern is. We want to know how they are mitigating and keeping those employees safe,” Camp said.

A spokesperson from the state Department of Health told KDKA that the Providence Care Center did not report accurate results last week. The numbers dropped to zero when the spokesperson said it is required to be cumulative data.

“The secretary ordered that facilities report cumulative data to the department so that the state and the public have the full picture of COVID-19 in long-term care facilities,” said Maggi Mumma, deputy press secretary for the state Department of Health Press Office.

Meanwhile, in Westmoreland County, its commissioners are handling an outbreak at county-owned Westmoreland Manor with 47 positive resident cases and 23 staff cases.

“For the past six months, we’ve had zero cases, but other nursing homes have had issues. So we aren’t the first nursing home for this to happen to so I think it helped us realize we need to act as quickly as possible,” said Westmoreland County Commissioner Gina Cerilli.

Cerilli said the outbreak started with just one staff member and spread so the Pennsylvania National Guard was brought in to help.

“The reason why we brought in the Pa. National Guard is it frees up our management staff, who was doing the testing, so they can be more hands-on with the residents,” Cerilli said.

The county commissioners believe this situation serves as an example that quick action and good communication will help in any future nursing home outbreak.