HARRISBURG — The Wolf Administration on Tuesday released data on the number of COVID-19 cases and deaths at long-term care facilities in Pennsylvania.
In Clearfield County, two facilities were reported to have less than five positive cases each — Mountain Laurel Health Care and Rehabilitation Center and Knickerbocker Villa Senior Living, both located in Clearfield.
The data provides the number of cases, number of employee cases and number of deaths that have occurred at each facility. For facilities with less than five in any of these data points, the information is redacted. This means there was at least one positive case but no more than four.
While both facilities are reporting redacted information regarding the number of positive COVID-19 cases, the number of employees with positive cases as well as COVID-19-related deaths at both facilities are zero.
Guardian Healthcare, which operates the 240-bed Mountain Laurel facility located at 700 Leonard St., confirmed in late March that there was one positive case of COVID-19 at the facility.
Mountain Laurel Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center is a 240-bed facility at 700 Leonard Street in Clearfield, according to the facility’s website.
Knickerbocker Villa Senior Living, 304 S. Second St., is listed as a 70-bed facility for residents who do not require skilled nursing care.
There were no cases reported in adjacent counties of Jefferson or Elk.
“Long-term care facility residents are among the most vulnerable Pennsylvanians, and we want their families to have the latest information on what is going on in the facilities in which their loved ones reside,” Levine said. “COVID-19 is a particularly challenging situation for these settings as they care for residents with serious medical conditions. We will continue to work to ensure the safety and wellbeing of residents through education, resources and testing.”
“Our long-term care facilities are an integral part of Pennsylvania’s health care system. People providing care in long-term care facilities must endure these challenges of this difficult time while maintaining continuity and services for people under their care,” said Department of Human Services Secretary Teresa Miller. “We are committed to continuing networks of support for these facilities so we can navigate and overcome this challenge together.”
Guidance released last week to hospitals and skilled nursing homes require a resident who is being discharged from a hospital to a nursing home, personal care home, or assisted living facility be tested for COVID-19, if they were not hospitalized due to the virus. This will provide valuable information to the long-term care facility on any needs to cohort the patient, monitor their condition and take necessary precautions to prevent the spread of the virus, if applicable.
In addition, a Health Alert was previously issued to provide direction to all skilled nursing facilities on a universal testing strategy, outlining when testing should be used, and what steps to take after a positive test result. Test results can be used to cohort those exposed, determine the burden of COVID-19 across units or facilities to allocate resources, identify health care workers who are infected, and address those who are no longer ill.
The department is committed to testing all patients and staff in Pennsylvania’s long-term care facilities. A pilot study of two facilities is currently underway to test all residents and staff at the facility. The information from these tests will be used for cohorting. The department, working with commercial laboratories, has been coordinating with facilities that are implementing universal testing. The state is receiving test swabs from the federal government to ensure our facilities have an adequate supply. In addition, the Pennsylvania National Guard is mobilizing to provide a mobile testing option for facilities that may not be able to test on their own.
Education to facilities has been provided through bulletin boards, nursing home associations, and normal channels of communication such as Health Alert Network messages. That education has included guidance for clinicians at long-term care facilities on the cohorting of residents with COVID-19 in dedicated units within nursing homes, effective transmission prevention strategy, universal screening and masking of all healthcare workers, and how to provide access to the state’s Long-Term Care Ombudsman.