HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Health officials say COVID-19 has killed hundreds more Pennsylvania nursing home residents than was previously known.
The Pennsylvania Department of Health on Wednesday reported 479 new COVID-19 deaths, with 339 of them at nursing and personal care homes. The sharp rise of numbers come from the state reconciling cases from the past two weeks, according to the Department of Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine.
That raises the state’s overall death toll to more than 2,100. Nursing homes now account for 65% of all deaths attributed to the virus in Pennsylvania.
Nursing homes cite shortages of personal protective equipment and say they haven’t been able to do enough diagnostic testing to be able to quickly identify and isolate patients and staff who have the virus.
State deaths have fluxated as the Department of Health previously started to count presumed COVID-19 deaths. Those numbes went down when they chose to only count confirmed COVID-19 deaths. Currently, the state says that investigations show that deaths over the past two weeks were able to be confirmed as being COVID-19 related.