Pennsylvania Health Secretary offers guidance for nursing homes, governor insists on gradual reopening

Pennsylvania

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — Nearly 70% of Pennsylvania’s Covid-19 deaths, 2611 of 3806, have occurred in nursing homes or long-term care facilities. State Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine announced new guidance for those facilities on Tuesday to include more resources, education, and mass testing.

“By testing every resident and every staff member in every nursing home, we will be able to pinpoint exactly who has Covid-19, who has been exposed but has no symptoms, and cohort positive cases to prevent further spread,” Levine said, adding that the state will also require nursing homes to report all cases and deaths which will be available publicly.

While Levine beefs up rules and oversight at nursing homes and long-term care facilities, ABC27 learned the health secretary’s mother recently vacated a personal care home in the Midstate.

“My mother requested, and my sister and I as her children complied to move her to another location during the Covid-19 outbreak,” Levine said. “My mother is 95 years old. She is very intelligent and more than competent to make her own decisions.”

Many in Harrisburg wondered what kind of message it sends — when a close relative of the person tasked with overseeing those types of facilities doesn’t choose to stay in one. Levine countered that she is working to protect the health of all Pennsylvanians.

Governor Wolf continued to take fire Tuesday, mostly from Republican elected officials, over his decisions on what counties and businesses can or cannot reopen.

The Round the Clock Diner, in Wolf’s home county of York, defiantly opened its doors and is serving dine-in customers against the rules of the red phase. The York district attorney, however, has vowed to not prosecute business owners who ignore the governor’s shutdown mandate.

Wolf insisted on Tuesday that his approach is not slow but deliberate and that it has saved Pennsylvanian lives.

“We’re all fighting a common enemy and the enemy is not the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania,” he said. “It’s not me. It’s not Donald Trump. It’s not the General Assembly. It’s this virus. We are all fighting this war together. We can’t run up the white flag. We have got to fight this to the end.”

The governor maintains that if the state were to re-open too soon, and the virus comes roaring back, eight weeks of sacrifice and self-exile would have been wasted.

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