Pennsylvania, Meet Florida: Startling Facts About COVID-Related Nursing Home Deaths

 

Pennsylvania, meet Florida.

You’re smaller than Florida, with a population of 12.8 million compared to some 21 million in Florida. And Florida’s population is proportionately older; 20.5 percent of Florida’s residents are over age 65, compared to 18.2 percent in the Keystone State.

Then comes coronavirus and the disease it causes, COVID-19. Nasty bugger, that.

As of today, Florida has reported 481 deaths in nursing homes and related facilities. Tragic, and the number includes nursing home staff who have also succumbed.

But as of today, Pennsylvania has reported more than 2,700 deaths in nursing homes and related facilities. I do not know if that number includes staff.

Why is that, I wonder? Is it because there are more seniors living in nursing homes in PA than FL? Actually, the numbers are almost identical: 72,000 for Florida, 76,000 for Pennsylvania. So we can eliminate that.

But wait. This story from yesterday outlines how Governor Ron DeSantis and Florida’s Health Department moved COVID-positive nursing home residents into hospitals.

Pennsylvania? Governor Tom Wolf and his Secretary of Health, Dr. Rachel Levine (the behavioral kind, not a medical doctor) ordered COVID-positive patients back into nursing homes.

But PA Health Secretary, Dr. Rachel Levine, made sure to move her 95-year-old mother out of her nursing home as deaths skyrocketed.

Let all that sink in.

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  1. EODmom Coolidge
    EODmom
    @EODmom

    My cynical instinct is that some bureaucrat looked at the cost dynamic between who pays how much for Medicare patients in various settings and early on set the protocol for treating nursing home patients with actual or suspected virus. Without considering the potential for contagion or outcome. Call me cynical.

    • #1
  2. Aaron Miller Member
    Aaron Miller
    @AaronMiller

    Another factor is probably Pennsylvania’s proximity to New York City. 

    My sister the physician noted that the prevalence of the virus in a few hot and humid areas might indicate that it will not recede during summer. We’ll see. 

    • #2
  3. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    Bucknelldad: But PA Health Secretary, Dr. Rachel Levine made sure to move her 95-year-old mother out of her nursing home as deaths skyrocketed.

    “Well, my mother matters more than yours does.”

    • #3
  4. Bucknelldad Coolidge
    Bucknelldad
    @SoupGuy

    Aaron Miller (View Comment):

    Another factor is probably Pennsylvania’s proximity to New York City.

    My sister the physician noted that the prevalence of the virus in a few hot and humid areas might indicate that it will not recede during summer. We’ll see.

    Perhaps, but the hardest-hit county for nursing home deaths in the state, at please proportionately, is Beaver County, PA, which borders Ohio northwest of Pittsburgh. 

    • #4
  5. MarciN Member
    MarciN
    @MarciN

    This story cited in the original post is dated May 13, so it is covering a fairly recent time period. What’s interesting is that they were moving people out of nursing homes who were testing positive. This is happening right now:

    At a Wednesday news briefing, Gov. Ron DeSantis defended his actions to keep long-term care residents safe during the pandemic. He said “sentinel” surveillance testing teams have traveled to 25 facilities to conduct testing on a sampling of facility employees, adding that the Veterans Administration has added its own 15 teams of testers.

    It seems to me that once the virus got into a hospital ward or nursing home, it would spread through the vulnerable population. Since this increasing death rate in the nursing homes has been going on for three months now, I don’t think these policies explain the difference in the cumulative death rates.

    Nevertheless, Florida is to be congratulated for moving quickly now to protect the nursing home patients. It sounds like they have been doing a better job than anyone else in containing the outbreaks within their facilities.

    Massachusetts has the fourth-highest death rate from this virus after New York, Connecticut, and New Jersey, and half have been in long-term-care facilities. The four states with these deaths that may have been relatively easily preventable–in contrast to patients who require expensive surgery or cancer care, for example–have some soul searching to do. The virus has revealed some truly appalling conditions in these homes.

    • #5
  6. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    Bucknelldad (View Comment):
    Perhaps, but the hardest-hit county for nursing home deaths in the state, at please proportionately, is Beaver County, PA, which borders Ohio northwest of Pittsburgh. 

    I believe Salena Zito was talking about that here.

    • #6
  7. Tex929rr Coolidge
    Tex929rr
    @Tex929rr

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Bucknelldad: But PA Health Secretary, Dr. Rachel Levine made sure to move her 95-year-old mother out of her nursing home as deaths skyrocketed.

    “Well, my mother matters more than yours does.”

    Rules for thee but not for me.

    • #7
  8. Gumby Mark (R-Meth Lab of Demo… Thatcher
    Gumby Mark (R-Meth Lab of Demo…
    @GumbyMark

    According to the article, Florida only started doing this a few days ago.

    • #8
  9. James Gawron Thatcher
    James Gawron
    @JamesGawron

    Bucknelldad,

    You laid out the case quite perfectly. This isn’t quantum physics. Anybody should get the idea. Pennsylvania screwed up and Florida didn’t. The only factor we can correlate is that blue states with very arrogant Governors mindlessly ignored all science and marched forward with an extreme one size fits all lockdown. Given the available knowledge of the huge increased risk for the elderly, this was an amazingly stupid thing to do.

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #9
  10. She Reagan
    She
    @She

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Bucknelldad (View Comment):
    Perhaps, but the hardest-hit county for nursing home deaths in the state, at please proportionately, is Beaver County, PA, which borders Ohio northwest of Pittsburgh.

    I believe Salena Zito was talking about that here.

    Yep.

    Beaver County is one of the seven westernmost counties of PA, as is my own county (Washington). As of yesterday, positive case/death statistics were as follows (Southernmost to Northernmost): Greene: 27/1, Washington 127/4; Beaver 512/82; Lawrence 71/7; Mercer 78/2; Crawford 21/0; Erie127/3. Total deaths for all counties bordering on Ohio and WV: 100. 82 of those deaths are in Beaver County and the other 18 are split among the six other counties.

    Allegheny County (which contains Pittsburgh and many well-populated suburbs, and which borders on Washington and Beaver Counties to the West has had 1551 cases, and 139 deaths. 

    There seem to be a lot of nursing homes in Beaver County. I’m not sure why, except that Allegheny County is seen as a very business-unfriendly venue, and Washington County (where I cheerfully hang out), is seen as something of a backward and hick area). Beaver County, I think, is thought of as more genteel and upscale. (I wouldn’t change where I live for the world.)

     

    • #10
  11. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    She (View Comment):
    As of yesterday, positive case/death statistics were as follows (Southernmost to Northernmost): Greene: 27/1, Washington 127/4; Beaver 512/82; Lawrence 71/7; Mercer 78/2; Crawford 21/0; Erie127/3. Total deaths for all counties bordering on Ohio and WV: 100. 82 of those deaths are in Beaver County and the other 18 are split among the six other counties.

    My county: 7830/874.

    • #11
  12. Unsk Member
    Unsk
    @Unsk

    Great post. The story of the Pennsylvania response has been repeated in other blue states, New York and California among them with disastrous results. 

    • #12
  13. James Gawron Thatcher
    James Gawron
    @JamesGawron

    She (View Comment):

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Bucknelldad (View Comment):
    Perhaps, but the hardest-hit county for nursing home deaths in the state, at please proportionately, is Beaver County, PA, which borders Ohio northwest of Pittsburgh.

    I believe Salena Zito was talking about that here.

    Yep.

    Beaver County is one of the seven westernmost counties of PA, as is my own county (Washington). As of yesterday, positive case/death statistics were as follows (Southernmost to Northernmost): Greene: 27/1, Washington 127/4; Beaver 512/82; Lawrence 71/7; Mercer 78/2; Crawford 21/0; Erie127/3. Total deaths for all counties bordering on Ohio and WV: 100. 82 of those deaths are in Beaver County and the other 18 are split among the six other counties.

    Allegheny County (which contains Pittsburgh and many well-populated suburbs, and which borders on Washington and Beaver Counties to the West has had 1551 cases, and 139 deaths.

    There seem to be a lot of nursing homes in Beaver County. I’m not sure why, except that Allegheny County is seen as a very business-unfriendly venue, and Washington County (where I cheerfully hang out), is seen as something of a backward and hick area). Beaver County, I think, is thought of as more genteel and upscale. (I wouldn’t change where I live for the world.)

     

    She,

    Yes, as I think you are suggesting, the arrogant lefty stupidity factor explains the variation. The greater the concentration of arrogant lefties there are, the dumber the policy they insist on. It’s really a simple correlation, isn’t it?

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #13
  14. Tex929rr Coolidge
    Tex929rr
    @Tex929rr

    I did some calculations this morning for infection rates. The infection rate in Kendall County (my semi/rural) is .000426 and in Bexar (San Antonio) .000987.

    • #14
  15. The Other Diane Coolidge
    The Other Diane
    @TheOtherDiane

    DeSantis has done an extraordinary job focusing on long term care patients here in Florida. I’m very impressed. Unfortunately it means that I haven’t seen my mother, who’s in a well-run ALF half an hour’s drive from me, since mid-March, when I want up to supervise her showers for a few days when her regular CNA was out of town. They were doing temp checks at the door when I went, and were already only allowing staff, medical professionals, and caregivers in at the time.

     Since then all meals have been served to residents in their apartments in the ALF section of the building my mom lives in, and masks are required if they want to walk around the facility outside their rooms. A few weeks ago our CNA informed us that they have now locked all entry doors to the facility and have posted someone at each door to let only allowed people in or out as needed. My mom’s been pretty anxious but brave (bumping up her anti-anxiety meds helped) and is impressed that she, as she tells it, is being treated like a queen, with meals in her room and her favorite chocolate ice cream for dessert twice a day.

    Three days ago residents received a letter from the facility saying that a resident (who’s been living with family since early May) had tested positive. They’ve now swabbed every resident in the independent and ALF sections (both oral and nasal) including drive thru testing provided/required for off duty staff members, and initial results will be in on Saturday. From the order in which testing was administered we’re guessing it was somebody in the independent living section but don’t know yet for sure.

    My mom is only 83 but has several underlying conditions, and normally ate meals with three women in their early 90’s. Who knows if this will spread throughout the community, but if it does it won’t be because of lack of effort at the state or facility level. I can’t believe anyone with any sense in other states would return Covid-sick residents to a long term care facility filled with frail, elderly people. Incredible. 

     

     

    • #15
  16. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    The Other Diane (View Comment):
    I can’t believe anyone with any sense in other states would return Covid-sick residents to a long term care facility filled with frail, elderly people.

    And yet it has been done in several states.

    • #16
  17. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    Bucknelldad: But PA Health Secretary, Dr. Rachel Levine made sure to move her 95-year-old mother out of her nursing home as deaths skyrocketed. https://nypost.com/2020/05/13/pennsylvania-health-official-moved-mother-from-nursing-home/

    Some people say we can’t use Sweden’s method, because in Sweden a lot of people took recommended measures voluntarily, because in Sweden there is a lot of trust in public institutions.

    So, what does this case do for trust in public institutions? And what did the Russia hoax and the treatment of Michael Flynn do for trust in our public institutions? 

     

    • #17
  18. James Gawron Thatcher
    James Gawron
    @JamesGawron

    The Other Diane (View Comment):

    DeSantis has done an extraordinary job focusing on long term care patients here in Florida. I’m very impressed. Unfortunately it means that I haven’t seen my mother, who’s in a well-run ALF half an hour’s drive from me, since mid-March, when I want up to supervise her showers for a few days when her regular CNA was out of town. They were doing temp checks at the door when I went, and were already only allowing staff, medical professionals, and caregivers in at the time.

    Since then all meals have been served to residents in their apartments in the ALF section of the building my mom lives in, and masks are required if they want to walk around the facility outside their rooms. A few weeks ago our CNA informed us that they have now locked all entry doors to the facility and have posted someone at each door to let only allowed people in or out as needed. My mom’s been pretty anxious but brave (bumping up her anti-anxiety meds helped) and is impressed that she, as she tells it, is being treated like a queen, with meals in her room and her favorite chocolate ice cream for dessert twice a day.

    Three days ago residents received a letter from the facility saying that a resident (who’s been living with family since early May) had tested positive. They’ve now swabbed every resident in the independent and ALF sections (both oral and nasal) including drive thru testing provided/required for off duty staff members, and initial results will be in on Saturday. From the order in which testing was administered we’re guessing it was somebody in the independent living section but don’t know yet for sure.

    My mom is only 83 but has several underlying conditions, and normally ate meals with three women in their early 90’s. Who knows if this will spread throughout the community, but if it does it won’t be because of lack of effort at the state or facility level. I can’t believe anyone with any sense in other states would return Covid-sick residents to a long term care facility filled with frail, elderly people. Incredible.

    The Other Diane,

    Thank you for grounding us in the day to day reality of the elderly. I hope you and your Mom are reunited soon. You have both been brave. As to how other states could be as irresponsible as they have been, we must remember just what the term “virtue signaling” means. What it means is that you want the credit for being virtuous without actually being virtuous. The grandstanding Democratic Governers of Blue states have been making their grandiose speeches and falsely blaming the Trump administration for everything. Unfortunately, this cheap political trick will not work in this situation. This situation requires making the right decisions and implementing them properly. These are skills that virtue signalers don’t have.

    Regards,

    Jim

     

    • #18
  19. James Gawron Thatcher
    James Gawron
    @JamesGawron

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    Bucknelldad: But PA Health Secretary, Dr. Rachel Levine made sure to move her 95-year-old mother out of her nursing home as deaths skyrocketed. https://nypost.com/2020/05/13/pennsylvania-health-official-moved-mother-from-nursing-home/

    Some people say we can’t use Sweden’s method, because in Sweden a lot of people took recommended measures voluntarily, because in Sweden there is a lot of trust in public institutions.

    So, what does this case do for trust in public institutions? And what did the Russia hoax and the treatment of Michael Flynn do for trust in our public institutions?

    Ret,

    This is a backhanded insult to the American people. The vast majority of Americans are always ready to pitch in to do their share. I don’t think the Swedes are much more disciplined. This is an excuse that those who are hiding their own totalitarian tendencies can make to avoid the reality that freedom is invariably the better way to go.

    It’s an excuse to exercise unwarranted power which they are addicted to.

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #19
  20. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    Bucknelldad:Dr. Rachel Levine (the behavioral kind, not a medical doctor) ordered COVID-positive patients back INTO nursing homes But PA Health Secretary, Dr. Rachel Levine made sure to move her 95-year-old mother out of her nursing home as deaths skyrocketed. https://nypost.com/2020/05/13/pennsylvania-health-official-moved-mother-from-nursing-home/

    Kinda like the unionized schoolteachers who send their children to private school . . .

    • #20
  21. TBA Coolidge
    TBA
    @RobtGilsdorf

    EODmom (View Comment):

    My cynical instinct is that some bureaucrat looked at the cost dynamic between who pays how much for Medicare patients in various settings and early on set the protocol for treating nursing home patients with actual or suspected virus. Without considering the potential for contagion or outcome. Call me cynical.

    Actually, that’s less cynical than the idea that since everyone will get it eventually, we can save a lot of money/get a bluer state if these people just sorta happen to die now. 

    • #21
  22. jeannebodine, Verbose Bon Viva… Member
    jeannebodine, Verbose Bon Viva…
    @jeannebodine

    Gumby Mark (R-Meth Lab of Demo… (View Comment):

    According to the article, Florida only started doing this a few days ago.

    Maybe but Florida never issued specific directives that patients with COVID-19 were to be placed in nursing homes like Pennsylvania. According to the other article, the conflict in Florida was discussed and addressed in different ways. It states that the Florida’s Agency for Health Care Administration was mediating between hospitals and nursing homes and protocols were put in place for nursing homes.

    Further, it said that Health officials were working with nursing homes to ensure they have protective gear and other supplies, and the National Guard was brought in to ramp up testing of nursing home residents and staff.

    Pennsylvania did none of these things. They merely directed that nursing homes take the COVID-19 patients. No additional guidance, protocols, supplies or training were provided. And to top all of this off, ALL nursing home inspections, even routine ones, were suspended on March 6, 2020. These inspections have only resumed in the past few days after fierce criticism. So, basically, after ordering nursing homes to take sick patients, the Department of Health they were on their own.

     

    • #22
  23. TBA Coolidge
    TBA
    @RobtGilsdorf

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Bucknelldad: But PA Health Secretary, Dr. Rachel Levine made sure to move her 95-year-old mother out of her nursing home as deaths skyrocketed.

    “Well, my mother matters more than yours does.”

    Well, she’s practically royalty be extension. 

    • #23
  24. Stina Member
    Stina
    @CM

    The Reticulator (View Comment):
    because in Sweden there is a lot of trust in public institutions.

    Its SOCIAL trust, not institutional trust.

    The liberals here have plenty of institutional trust and absolutely no social trust… they expect every individual to just do whatever they want regardless of how it affects others. That’s why they get government involved. Government forces others to take actions that are good for everyone else.

    • #24
  25. Stina Member
    Stina
    @CM

    James Gawron (View Comment):
    This is a backhanded insult to the American people. The vast majority of Americans are always ready to pitch in to do their share. I don’t think the Swedes are much more disciplined. This is an excuse that those who are hiding their own totalitarian tendencies can make to avoid the reality that freedom is invariably the better way to go.

    I don’t think it’s wrong. The divide in this country, balkanization, racial strife, and immigration debate are all signs of lowered social trust. Locking car doors, voter integrity laws, and such are symptoms of low social trust. We don’t trust each other.

    It’s worse in big cities – always has been – because cosmopolitanism breeds social distrust. It’s why cities are so much in favor of big gov… because it’s the only way to guarantee a smorgasbord of cultures and values in tight spaces will follow the rules.

    • #25
  26. aardo vozz Member
    aardo vozz
    @aardovozz

    The Other Diane (View Comment):

    My mom is only 83…

    @theotherdiane, as someone whose cynicism is second to none, I have to say this made my day! Has there been any other time in recorded history (excluding early biblical figures of course) where someone could say or write this and not be joking? Despite all of our current challenges, we live in truly amazing times.🙂

     

    • #26
  27. GFHandle Member
    GFHandle
    @GFHandle

    Bucknelldad:

    As of today, Florida has reported 481 deaths in nursing homes and related facilities. Tragic, and the number includes nursing home staff who have also succumbed.

    But as of today, Pennsylvania has reported more than 2,700 deaths in nursing homes and related facilities. I do not know if that number includes staff.

    Are you including hospitals as related facilities? How many Florida nursing home residents died in hospitals after they were sent there? (I doubt its enough to make up the difference, but it has to be taken into account I think.) And of course one would need to know about the condition of the hospitals in each state in order to assess the decision. At bottom, though, I think the Governor of Florida is doing a fine job. He seems not to have inherited any genes from Draco.

    • #27
  28. GFHandle Member
    GFHandle
    @GFHandle

    The Other Diane (View Comment):

    My mom is only 83 but has several underlying conditions, and normally ate meals with three women in their early 90’s. Who knows if this will spread throughout the community, but if it does it won’t be because of lack of effort at the state or facility level. I can’t believe anyone with any sense in other states would return Covid-sick residents to a long term care facility filled with frail, elderly people. Incredible.

    My lady’s father is 95 and in a rehab in NY. He has underlying conditions, too. He tested positive three weeks ago. So far, he is eating and talking on the phone. My doctor confirmed for me yesterday that the majority of those in the at risk population who get the virus survive. I’m glad your mothers’ caregivers are doing a good job, and even if she were to get infected, she would still have a good chance. Take heart.

     

     

     

     

     

    • #28
  29. Headedwest Coolidge
    Headedwest
    @Headedwest

    Bucknelldad (View Comment):

    Perhaps, but the hardest-hit county for nursing home deaths in the state, at please proportionately, is Beaver County, PA, which borders Ohio northwest of Pittsburgh.

    For what it’s worth, that is one nursing home according to what I read today.

    In the county where I live in Texas, the total deaths are now 18 people. Ten of the 18 came from one nursing home. The lesson seems to be that if the Wuhan virus gets into a nursing home things go bad fast.

    At least here in Texas I don’t think the nursing homes are mandated to accept people with the virus into the facility. PA, NY, and I think MA are the states that take that prize.

     

    • #29
  30. Boss Mongo Member
    Boss Mongo
    @BossMongo

    I’ve read conflicting reports, but I think the weather gets a vote in the spread of the virus. I’ve read that the virus doesn’t do well in ambient temps over 82 degrees. South FL hits that as an average in mid-FEB. Miami-Dade and Broward are virus hotspots, but I have a suspicion that the 03 FEB Super Bowl in Miami played a role.

     

    • #30