WALLINGFORD, Pa. (CBS) — Pennsylvania health officials are placing a focus on nursing homes, who have bear the brunt of COVID-19 cases. Now, the state is announcing new steps to prevent further outbreaks.
For more than a month, Donna Osowski was a resident at ManorCare Health Services in Wallingford.
The 68-year-old was recovering from a stroke, needing physical therapy to walk. She went into the facility as the pandemic began to flare up.
“They were putting me into another room and I said, ‘Oh, am I going in by myself?’ And she said, ‘No, you’re going in with another woman, but she only has a 99 fever,'” Osowski said. “I said, ‘What? That’s one of the symptoms.’
“Well, they put me in this room by myself, then they bring her down. She’s coughing a lot. I said you people are really kidding me,” Osowski said.
State data shows the number of COVID-19 deaths in long-term care facilities approaches 75% of all deaths in some counties.
Osowski, a grandmother to nine boys, says staff members continued to place COVID-19 positive residents in her room. She eventually contracted the virus herself.
“I was completely healthy when I went in there,” Osowski said.
Pennsylvania officials have been faulted by family members of nursing home residents for a lack of preparedness to contain the virus.
CBS3 questioned state leaders if enough had been done to assist nursing homes.
“That’s a very difficult question, obviously,” Pennsylvania Emergency Management Director Randy Padfield said. “The challenge is that no two nursing homes or long-term care facilities are created equally. So trying to generalize against a number of them is very difficult. They’re all prepared to different degrees.”
ManorCare Wallingford’s parent company released the following statement, reading in part: “We have taken significant additional precautions to minimize risk to patients and employees and have had systems and processes in place to help reduce the risks associated with the novel coronavirus …We are in very close communication with our medical director, clinical support team, and local and state health officials about the appropriate steps to serve the best interests of our patients, employees and visitors.”
Read the full statement below.
Meanwhile, the state is ramping up testing for residents and staff of nursing facilities to gauge the full toll the virus has taken.