Pennsylvania’s public health chief warned of a second wave of outbreak from the Kovid-19 community, with nursing homes prompting a possible correlative wave of nursing home outbreaks and deaths.
Nursing home operators and staff are searching for more protective gear, with testing and other assistance to ensure that the next outbreak in long-term living facilities is not fatal and severe in the spring and early summer.
According to an analysis of federal data released last week by senior advocacy group AARP, about 700 nursing homes in Pennsylvania are not reported to have adequate personal protective equipment during September. Staffing is a concern for 18% of facilities statewide.
Last week, Allegheny and Westmoreland counties entered their highest number of new Kovid-19 cases since July. Pennsylvania Secretary of Health, Drs. Rachel Levin said the statewide data signal is a “fall resurgence” and experts can’t predict when it will peak.
“We are definitely keeping an eye on our long-term care facilities and our nursing homes,” Allegheny County Health Director Dr. Debra Bogan said. “As we have seen in the past, nursing home cases lag behind the cases we see in communities. So if we see an increase in community cases after a few weeks, we will see an increase in nursing home cases. ”
‘No Guarantee’ in Throwing Kovid
With about 66 deaths per 1,000 residents, Pennsylvania’s nursing home mortality ranks eighth in the nation.
According to data published by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, it has a lower rate than Massachusetts, New Jersey and Mississippi, but higher than Texas, Arizona and Alabama.
As evidenced by several developing outbreaks in western Pennsylvania, facilities that remain out of widespread outbreaks in the spring remain susceptible to the virus.
One of them is at Westmoreland Manor, where more than a third of residents – at least 117 – have tested positive for Kovid-19 and three residents have died since late September. Thirty-four employees were infected. Officials called in late September to assist the Westmoreland County-run facility with ongoing testing of residents and staff in the Pennsylvania National Guard. Members of the guard, after a two-week stay, left Manor last weekend.
After months of reporting zero cases, an outbreak at Kane Community Living Center in Allegheny County in Scott has climbed to 150 cases and 13 resident deaths among residents and staff. Dennis Biondo, director of the Cane Center, said that as of Friday, actively infected individuals have been isolated or isolated. None of the county’s other three Cane Centers have had any active resident cases since the Glen Hazel site killed 16 residents by mid-May.
In places where the majority of residents are excluded and recovered from Kovid-19, the risks remain for employees and new admissions, and voluntary carriers who work in nursing homes, outside their workplace, for their families and others Can pose a risk.
The Presbyterian Seniorcare Network – which operates facilities in 10 counties, including long-term care facilities in Oakmont and Washington – reported 33 Kovid-19 cases out of about 600 residents, according to state data. The network’s senior director of communications, Lisa Fischetti, said nursing home operators are “cautiously optimistic” about reducing the next round of disease spread.
“We know there is no guarantee,” she said. “Despite all the precautions you can take, it is a highly contagious virus.”
Across the United States, more than 28,000 nursing home residents tested positive for Kovid-19 and 5,200 people died between August and September, “showing that the virus is still growing in nursing homes,” The report, produced by AARP with the Scripps Center in Miami, states the University in Ohio.
Bill Sweeney, AARP’s senior vice president for governmental affairs, called the findings related to persistent staffing and supply shortages “disappointingly disappointing”.
“It’s a nationwide crisis, and no state is doing a good job,” Sweeney said. “While the epidemic has been unpredictable for all of us, basic infection control should have been in nursing homes for a long time.
“These are places where people are vulnerable to infection, be it Kovid or something else, so there is still no basic PPE for these facilities, even now, with a deadly virus in the air, degrading. And is unacceptable. ”
Group helps facilities achieve PPE
Bogen said the creation of a state task force charged with monitoring the nursing home has helped the facilities get better prepared in the spring.
Among the state-funded efforts is the Regional Response Health Cooperation Program. The state has procured supplies, assessed infection control programs and offered in-person and virtual consultations and assisted 24/7 hotlines for nursing home operators to assist with long-term care facilities in various parts of the state Paid $ 175 million to several groups. .
In parts of southwestern and northwestern Pennsylvania, work is being carried out by UPMC Community Provider Services, which submitted the group’s application on behalf of UPMC, the Allegheny Health Network, the Jewish Healthcare Foundation and the Healthcare Council of Western Pennsylvania. The group received $ 38.9 million from the state.
Program members Emily Jaffe, a gynecologist and Allegheny Health Network’s medical director for post-acute care and HM Home & Community Services, described the regional team as “the best health care collaboration in my health.”
Members of the regional group began working together on education and outreach in early April. It delivered the first sets of protective gear and other supplies in early August.
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