Pa. Health Secretary Levine confirms 64 cases of COVID-19 in Pa. personal care homes

    Pennsylvania Health Secretary Rachel Levine speaks to journalists during an online briefing on Thursday, 3/19/20 about the latest on the COVID-19 outbreak in the Keystone State (Screen Capture).

    With the state now recording COVID-19 cases in nursing homes, Pennsylvania’s top health official reiterated warnings Sunday for family members to refrain from visiting aged relatives. 

    “Our nursing home patients are often the most vulnerable,” state Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine said Sunday during an online briefing. She urged families not to visit their loved ones in personal care homes, if they are happy and healthy.

    Levine confirmed that 64 cases of COVID-19  have been found at nursing homes across the state. Five percent of those home cases from the southeastern part of the state.  

    Levine suggested calling, video chat and writing letters to stay in touch with loved ones in a personal care home. 

    “I know how challenging it is not to visit your loved one,” Levine said, adding that her mother is in a personal care home. 

    The latest on COVID-19 in Pa.: 3,394 confirmed cases in 58 counties

    Levine said nursing home employees are asked to stay home if they have symptoms, but are not being tested if they are asymptomatic at this time.  

    As of midday Sunday, Health officials had confirmed 649 new cases of COVID-19 across the state, bringing the state total to 3.394 confirmed cases in 58 of Pennsylvania’s 67 counties. 

    More than 30,000 Pennsylvanians have tested negative thus far, Levine said. 

    In all, 110 cases required treatment in ICU, 64 of those have required the use of ventilators, Levine said. So far, 38 Pennsylvanians have died as a result of COVID-19. According to the Department of Health, all of those deaths occurred in adult patients. 

    Mirroring reports of field hospitals in New York, Levine said two field hospitals are being set up in the southeastern part of the state.

    Levine also  said the state government has purchased ventilators to prepare for a potential surge of COVID cases. 

    “We are working to have ventilators for anyone who needs it,” Levine said. 

    At this time, Levine said the state has enough tests available to meet demand.

     

    Cassie Miller
    A native Pennsylvanian, Cassie Miller worked for various publications across the Midstate before joining the team at the Pennsylvania Capital-Star. In her previous roles, she has covered everything from local sports to the financial services industry. Miller has an extensive background in magazine writing, editing and design. She is a graduate of Penn State University where she served as the campus newspaper’s photo editor. She is currently pursuing her master’s degree in professional journalism at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. In addition to her role at the Capital-Star, Miller enjoys working on her independent zines, Dead Air and Infrared.