Pa. Health Secretary provides updates on COVID, nursing home guidance

Regional News

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — Pennsylvania’s Secretary of Health will be providing updates on COVID-19 and nursing home guidance at PEMA at 11 a.m. Thursday.

During the first six months of the coronavirus pandemic, 67% of the Commonwealth’s COVID deaths were at personal care and assisted living homes.

Earlier this week, the state announced it completed universal testing for all residents and staff at PA’s nearly 1,400 facilities.

The Department of Health believes the rapid spread at those locations was from asymptomatic staff members bringing in the virus.

Meanwhile, the feds continue to investigate several states, including PA’s, handling of nursing homes during the pandemic.

The Department of Justice wants to know all of the orders and guidance the Wolf administration made for nursing homes, as well as how many people were admitted after testing positive for COVID-19.

It will then decide whether or not to open a formal investigation under the Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Acts.

Back in March, the state-issued guidance for nursing homes to accept new patients who had been discharged from the hospital with COVID to try to avoid overcrowding hospitals. That move has since drawn significant criticism.

“We’ve learned things,” said Governor Tom Wolf. “I think we’re doing a better job now than we were and I’m sure two months from now or three months from now, I’m sure we’ll be doing a better job than we’re doing now.”

There are about 127,000 residents in PA’s nursing homes and long term care facilities.

“COVID-19 is still a very real threat, but we are better positioned now as we head into the fall and flu season with the knowledge and experience we’ve gained in the first six months of this pandemic,” said Pennsylvania’s Secretary of Human Services Teresa Miller.

Thursday’s conversation can be streamed on the Department of Health’s website.

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