Two coronavirus victims at Brighton Rehabilitation and Wellness Center have died, with 29 others confirmed or suspected of having the virus, according to multiple media reports.
The county’s former geriatric center in Brighton Township has about 470 residents. BeaverCountian.com revealed the first coronavirus diagnosis in the facility on March 27.
Pittsburgh news outlets are reporting there are 25 patients being kept in a COVID-19.
KDKA-TV reported a short while ago, “They created an isolation unit where 25 people are right now. Thirteen people there tested positive, one is being re-tested and 11 are still waiting on results. Four others who tested positive are at Heritage Valley Beaver Hospital.
“The doctor says everyone was from the dementia unit at their facility and they have not seen signs of the virus on any other floor.”
A KDKA reporter talked to one woman who pulled her mother out of the facility this morning. She says she was worried about her mother’s care and believes there is not enough staffing.
“It is a constant worry, you know,” the woman told the reporter. “‘How are they doing, are they being cared for properly, is everybody washing their hands?’” she said. “For the family members that have folks there, the questions I would ask is ‘tell me what your protocol is, how are you keeping my loved one safe?’”
The center’s Medical Director Dr. David Thimons also confirmed the deaths to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review and also said the two victims had advanced dementia and were in hospice care when they died.
Thimons told the Tribune-Review that it began testing residents Friday, and 10 positive covid-19 cases were confirmed by Saturday morning. On Sunday, Thimons said there were another nine positive tests.
As of Monday, 25 residents had been moved to the specialty unit and four were in Heritage Valley Beaver hospital, Thimons confirmed to the newspaper. “The residents with pending tests were moved to the unit because they were in rooms with residents who tested positive for covid-19 and they are exhibiting symptoms, Thimons was quoted as saying.
“We’re concerned they’re positive so we didn’t want to take them off that floor and expose anyone else,” Thimons further told the newspaper. “So we kept them in isolation and we’re treating them and we’re waiting for the tests to come back.”
Staff will re-test the resident whose test came back inconclusive, Thimons added.
Thimons told the Tribune-Review that doctors are using telemedicine and video calls to check in with the hospitalized residents as a way to limit exposure. Thimons further said he checked in with the afflicted residents on Monday, and said their medical treatment is working.
“There are a couple patients who passed away and it’s very unfortunate,” Thimons was quoted as saying. “They had advanced dementia. They were on hospice. They just didn’t have much reserve, unfortunately. But the patients with a little more reserve are doing well, and they’re responding, and for the first time in three days I feel hopeful.”
WTAE Pittsburgh reported that a nurse who works at the nursing home told the station she was denied access to an N95 respirator mask, even though she was caring for patients with COVID-19 symptoms. The Centers for Disease Control has said clinicians caring for coronavirus patients should use those masks.
“I can’t believe I was denied as a health care worker, from another health care worker, to work in unsafe conditions,” nurse Tamera Witherspoon told the station.
On Saturday, Witherspoon told the reporter, she was assigned to care for 20 patients who had been in the same unit as the patients diagnosed with COVID-19. When four of her patients showed symptoms including a high temperature, she asked for an N95 mask. But she could not get one.
“I was livid but I was also on duty. There are patients that need to be cared for so I’m in a predicament,” she said on video. When Witherspoon finished her shift, she said she got even angrier when she saw supervisors not caring for COVID-19 patients who were wearing N95 masks. You’re not doing patient care and I’m at the bedside doing patient care, and I have three kids at home and I ask you and you’re denying me to have an N95? I just think that’s deplorable,” she said
KDKA reported that Thimons said the center is staffed, but moving forward staffing is its concern.
Thimons also told media the center is asking for gloves, hand sanitizer, gowns and masks as well as nurses and aides willing to help.