Wednesday, May 20, 2020
Under pressure from media and advocacy groups, Pennsylvania's Departments of Health and Human Services have recently published statistics about how many residents and employees at a large number of long-term care facilities have been diagnosed with Covid-19 and how many, if any, have died with the diagnosis. The spreadsheet is interesting, even with redaction of certain information if there is "less than 5" individuals with positive reports, as indicated by an asterisk. I'm linking here to a Spotlight PA article (written by Rebecca Moss for an investigative group that draws from the Pittsburgh Post/Gazette, the Philadelphia Inquirer and PennLive/Patriot-News) that provides part of the backstory on the state's decision to provide public information, along with an embedded link to the State's spreadsheet.
On the one hand, the data is sobering when you see the high numbers of deaths reported at some facilities. On the other hand, I'm intrigued by the number of facilities, including my own county's public nursing home (one of the few such facilities remaining in Pennsylvania) that report either zero or less than 5 total cases and no deaths.
The release of this kind of transparency will be important in the long run -- and help all of us better understand risks of infection in congregate settings, including but not limited to Covid-19. Additional questions focus focus on Pennsylvania's announced new "strategy" to promote universal testing of "all residents" and "all staff" and also to include "all types" of long-term care, regardless of regulatory designation. For more on that, see a WITF-Radio Smart Talk interview pointing to "potential holes" in Pennsylvania state reporting on long-term care Covid-19 infections.