ROSS TOWNSHIP, Pa. (KDKA) — The coronavirus has hit elderly people living in nursing homes especially hard.
The number one question for people with loved ones in nursing homes is when can they safety visit?
Gary Williams has been asking that question. He missed his father terribly.
“They opened the window about four inches and my dad came out the window,” Williams said.
His dad, Jay, turned 85 years old this week, and the family celebrated with cake.
“He was all smiles and just like, ‘Oh, I’m 85?’ And it was good to see him,” Gary said.
He is encouraged by the new nursing home numbers from the Pennsylvania Department of Health.
The numbers show a sharp decline in coronavirus positive residents inside the state’s long-term care facilities.
At its peak, the state saw nearly 560 residents test positive each week.
On Thursday, the number of positive cases is in the 40s.
“And that just means my mother gets closer to seeing my dad and the rest of the family. So yeah, we’re encouraged and we’re hoping that before the summer’s out, we’ll be able to see him,” Williams said.
When it comes to employees testing positive, that is down too.
New data shows an average of at least 100 staff employees tested positive every week in early May. And now that average is less than a dozen cases per week.
KDKA did learn on Thursday that two staff employees at Brighton Rehab and Wellness Center in Beaver County tested positive.
“Without question, Brighton was short-staffed, undersupplied and poorly tested,” said attorney David Kwass.
Kwass filed the first wrongful death lawsuit against the Beaver Co. center in honor of Elizabeth Wiles, a housekeeper at the facility.
He said residents, nursing aids and local attorneys are now reaching out to him.
“It just seems as though everything we’re hearing from the inside is confirming everything that we thought, everything that we expected,” said Kwass.
Cases at Brighton are not declining this week, but they are not increasing either. According to data, 332 residents and 111 staff are still listed as positive.
Arden Courts of the North Hills reports 24 cases, while the Manor Care facilities in Pittsburgh and Shadyside are posting counts in the 50s and 60s.