By Natasha Brown


PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Pennsylvania is watching metrics to use as checkpoints for reopening, but there is concern about the accuracy of the data coming from nursing homes. City health officials are even admitting that it has been a difficult process just coordinating lab results and making sure they’re getting complete and full reports and accounts of deaths and cases in nursing homes and long-term care facilities.

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“We have 980 new cases of COVID-19. This brings our statewide total to 65,392 Pennsylvanians,” Pennsylvania Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine said.

As the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania continues to log more positive cases and deaths due to COVID-19, the accuracy of numbers as they relate to nursing homes and long-term care facilities continue to raise concerns.

The Pennsylvania Department of Health released data on Tuesday but reports show that in some city facilities there were potential undercounts, with some deaths and positive cases not being reported.

“Tt’s a lot more complicated than you might think to be able to come up with just a few numbers that we give here,” Philadelphia Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley said. “We get data from many different sources.”

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Nursing home and long-term care facilities account for 54% of Philadelphia’s coronavirus cases and deaths. Those living in those settings remain the most vulnerable population.

Due to a technical glitch, state health officials say they were not able to update their system on Tuesday, creating a delay in case totals.

Overall, city and state health officials are working to devise a better plan to work with nursing homes so that no death and no positive case gets unreported.

“We’re going to prioritize certain facilities that are significantly impacted and then be looking to test all of the patients and all of the staff throughout the state. The testing capacity is there to do that,” Levine said. “We’re going to be working with those facilities about how to obtain those specimens, and whether they can obtain the specimens, whether they need help and how we would be able to provide that and all of that is proceeding as we speak.”

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Meanwhile, Gov. Tom Wolf will be holding a press conference on Friday to announce that some counties will be moving into the least-restrictive “green phase” of the reopening plan.

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