State holds hearing discussing COVID-19 and nursing homes


MOUNT POCONO, MONROE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU-TV) COVID-19 is hitting nursing homes especially hard. Today Dr. Rachel Levine, the secretary of the state department of health, insisted that the state is and has been responding to the needs of nursing homes.

Adam Marles, the CEO of LeadingAge PA, heads an organization that represents more than 300 nursing homes and long term care facilities.

Marles says, “our members need help to continue the fight against COVID-19.“

Eyewitness News listened to the testimony inside State Senator John Yudichak’s Nanticoke office. He’s been leading the charge to get more resources to nursing homes.

He testified at the hearing.

Senator Yudichak said, “these are the most vulnerable citizens in our society the most vulnerable citizens in the pandemic and the Department of Health has failed to put together a comprehensive strategic plan for the safety and welfare of not only those nursing home patients, but also the staff members that serve them.”

Dr. Rachel Levine, the secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Health, defended the department’s COVID-19 response to nursing homes.

She said the state has offered guidance to those facilities as well as shipping nearly 4 million masks to hospitals and nursing homes.

“I think that throughout the country nursing homes and personal care homes whether you look in Massachusetts, New York or other places all the very vulnerable settings with the most vulnerable people and your going to see large numbers there,” said Dr. Levine.

She also insists that all of the CDC recommendations, like social distancing pose challenges in any close setting like a nursing home.

Lawmakers tell Eyewitness News that they will continue to push for more action on behalf of nursing home patients including testing of residents and staff of those facilities.

We’ll have more details to come on Eyewitness News at 5pm.

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