MILTON, NORTHUMBERLAND COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU-TV) — UPDATE: According to Steven D. Weiner from Kaufman, Borgeest and Ryan LLC in New York City, the corporate attorney representing the Milton facility, as of 10 p.m. Thursday night, there have been 19 total patient deaths.
The Pennsylvania Department of Health and the Department of Human Services say they are working to contain a COVID-19 outbreak at Milton Nursing and Rehabilitation Center.
Since the first case at the facility was reported on August 3, the state Department of Health confirms at least 109 positive cases and 13 deaths at the facility. Those figures, accounting for 57 percent of Northumberland County’s new positive cases in the month of August.
The Pennsylvania National Guard sent out a team on Thursday to Milton Nursing and Rehabilitation Center to conduct an assessment and provide training and testing. A second team will be sent Friday to provide staffing over the following five days.
One Milton County resident, whose aunt contracted the virus and died at the facility and wished to remain anonymous, says the implementation of state forces has left her startled. “I know, I saw that on Facebook and I was shocked. It’s scary, very scary.”
Officials from the state administration say they have been in contact with the center, performed visits and provided personal protective equipment, as well as staffing throughout the outbreak.
DHS Secretary Teresa Miller, saying in a statement, “We will continue to work closely with our regional response health collaborative network to assist with stabilizing and managing this outbreak and providing support to facility staff, the National Guard, and temporary management as we work to protect residents in care.”
A temporary manager, Senior Health Care Solutions of Scranton, has also been appointed by the Department of Health after they found deficiencies at the Milton facility. The manager will remain in place until the Department of Health deems it no longer necessary.
“First and foremost, our shared goal is to protect the residents and staff at the facility – and all long-term care facilities in the commonwealth – as we battle COVID-19,” Secretary of Health Dr. Levine said in a statement. “Today, the Department of Health took another step to help Milton by placing a temporary manager at the facility to ensure proper infection control procedures are being followed and that the operators of the facility are doing their job to protect residents and staff. Keeping this virus out of nursing homes is on all of us, and we must all do our part – starting with wearing a mask when we are around other people.”
The department will pay for the fees associated with management from the state’s civil fund but Milton Nursing and Rehabilitation Center will remain responsible for all expenses of maintaining and operating the facility.
Eyewitness News reached out to the facility for comment, but so far, we’ve yet to receive a response.