Chesco Coroner reports COVID-19 deaths down in nursing homes

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WEST CHESTER — The Chester County Coroner’s Office  reported a significant drop in the number of nursing home residents dying with COVID-19 in June and July, officials said Friday. In May, 135 such deaths were reported, compared to 25 in June and 8 so far in July.

For all of 2020 to date, 380 COVID-19 deaths have been reported to the Coroner’s Office, with 318 (83.6%) being residents of long term care facilities. Seventeen facilities have had 5 or more residents die of the novel coronavirus, while an additional 21 facilities have lost at least one resident.

 

Facility Municipality COVID-19 Deaths
Southeastern Veterans Center East Vincent 42
Green Meadows Willistown 33
Brandywine Hall East Bradford 30
Phoenix Center Phoenixville 26
Parkhouse Montgomery County 25
Aventura at Pembrooke West Goshen 18
Barclay Friends West Chester 17
Wellington East Goshen 16
Bellingham (Memory Unit) East Goshen 13
St. Martha’s Caln 13
Freedom Village West Brandywine 11
Simpson Meadows East Caln 8
Arbor Terrace Willistown 7
Hickory House Honey Brook 6
Highgate at Paoli Pointe Tredyffrin 6
Bellingham (Independent) East Goshen 5
Newport Meadows Lancaster County 5

 

Deaths due to contagious disease are reportable to the Coroner of the county in which the death occurs even if the decedent’s residence was elsewhere. Nursing home residents from nearby counties are therefore counted if they die in a Chester County hospital.

“It’s wonderful to see the number of COVID-19 deaths in nursing homes going down,” Chester County Coroner Dr. Christina VandePol said. “But our involvement in these deaths has brought to my attention that most deaths in long-term-care facilities are not required to be reported to us. State law should be amended to require all deaths in congregate care settings be reported to the Coroner or Medical Examiner. Most nursing homes are closed loop systems, with the same people who supervise patient care issuing the death certificates. Death certificates are sometimes issued based on information given over the phone to an on-call physician. There is a lot of room for miscommunication and conflict of interest. Our elderly, their families, and our community deserve to have access to an independent and objective review whenever a death occurs in these circumstances.”

 

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