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Nursing homes in Pennsylvania are preparing for more covid outbreaks amid supply shortages



As the Pennsylvania health chief warns of the second wave of the spreading covid-19 community, nursing homes are advocating for a potential link of nurse outbreaks and deaths.

Operators and nurse staff are seeking additional protections, testing assistance and other assistance to ensure that subsequent explosions in long-term living facilities are not as deadly and widespread as in the spring and early tag. -itit.

About a quarter of Pennsylvania̵

7;s nearly 700 nursing homes reported insufficient personal protective equipment in September, according to an analysis of federal data released last week by the AARP senior advocacy group . Staffing is a concern for 18% of statewide facilities.

Last week, the provinces of Allegheny and Westmoreland logged their highest number of new covid-19 cases since July. Pennsylvania health secretary, Dr. Rachel Levine, says that the whole data signal a “resurrection” and experts can not predict when it will peak.

“We are definitely monitoring our long-term care facilities and our homes,” Drs. Debra Bogen, director of health in Allegheny County. “As we have seen in the past, cases in nursing homes are often followed by cases we see in communities. So if we see an increase in community cases, a few weeks later, we will see an increase in nursing home cases. ”

‘No guarantees’ in preventing covid

With about 66 deaths per 1,000 residents, Pennsylvania’s nursing death rate is the eighth in the country.

That is a lower rate than Massachusetts, New Jersey and Mississippi, but it is higher than Texas, Arizona and Alabama, according to data published by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

Facilities that prevent widespread spring outbreaks will remain vulnerable to the virus, as evidenced by the many eruptions in Western Pennsylvania.

Among them is one Westmoreland Manor, where more than one-third of the residents – at least 117 – have tested positive for covid-19 and three residents have died since late September. Thirty-four employees were infected. Officials called the Pennsylvania National Guard in late September to assist the Westmoreland County-run facility with ongoing testing of residents and staff. Members of the guard, after a two-week stay, left the Manor last weekend.

After months of reporting zero cases, an outbreak at the Kane Community Living Center of Allegheny County rose to 150 cases among residents and staff and 13 resident deaths. Kane Center Director Dennis Biondo said 71 people who were actively infected with the individuals until Friday were isolated or quarantined. None of the other three Kane centers have had active resident cases since the Glen Hazel site succeeded in an outbreak that killed 16 residents in mid-May.

In areas where most residents have been contracted and recovered from covid-19, risks will remain for staff and new entrants, and asymptomatic carriers working in nursing homes may pose a risk to their families and other people outside their workplace.

The Presbyterian SeniorCare Network – which operates facilities in 10 counties, including long-term care facilities in Oakmont and Washington – reported 33 covid-19 cases from nearly 600 residents, according to state data . Lisa Fischetti, senior director of communications communications, said nursing home operators are “cautiously optimistic” about navigating the next round of disease spread.

“We know there are no guarantees,” he said. “Despite all the precautions you can take, it is a contagious virus.”

Across the United States, more than 28,000 nursing residents who tested positive for covid-19 and 5,200 died between late August and September, “showing the virus is still raging in nursing homes,” the report produced by AARP at the Scripps Center at Miami University in Ohio.

Bill Sweeney, senior vice president of the AARP government, called the findings associated with repeated staffing and supply shortages “extremely annoying.”

“This is a nationwide crisis, and no state is doing a good job,” Sweeney said. “While pandemic is not expected of all of us, primary infection control should occur in nursing homes for a long time.

“These are the places where people are vulnerable to infection, be it covid or something else, so for these facilities there is still no basic PPE, even today, with a deadly virus in the air, is very good and unacceptable. ”

The team helps facilities obtain PPE

Bogen said the creation of a state task force charged with monitoring nursing homes has helped facilities become more prepared than spring.

Among the state-funded efforts being undertaken is the Regional Response Health Collaboration Program. The state has invested $ 175 million in several groups to help long-term care facilities in various parts of the state through procurement of supplies, analysis of infection control programs and personal offerings and virtual consultants and a 24/7 hotline for nursing home operators seeking guidance.

In southwestern and northwestern Pennsylvania, the work is carried out by UPMC Community Provider Services, which submits a team application on behalf of UPMC, Allegheny Health Network, the Jewish Healthcare Foundation and the Healthcare Council of Western Pennsylvania. The group received $ 38.9 million from the state.

Program member Emily Jaffe, a geriatrician and medical director of Allegheny Health Network post-acute care and HM Home and Community Services, described the regional team as “the best health care collaboration I have ever seen in my career. ”

Members of the regional team began working together on education and outreach in early April. It distributed the first sets of protective equipment and other supplies in early August.

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