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Jersey Shore, Pa. – The case count for COVID-19 at a Jersey Shore nursing home has risen rapidly since last week – from a total of 12 to 57 as of Tuesday, May 12.

ManorCare Health Services in Jersey Shore tested all residents at the Thompson Street facility, according to Julie Beckert, assistant vice president and director of marketing and communications at HCR ManorCare, Inc.’s corporate office in Toledo, Ohio.

“We did a full house testing. We have a lot of asymptomatic cases. It’s up to 57 as of today. So they’re all going into airborne isolation units,” Beckert said.

There are currently 100 residents at ManorCare in Jersey Shore, according to Beckert.

Previously on May 5, ManorCare reported having 12 positive cases. This included one staff member who was at home in quarantine. Three of the residents had been transferred to local hospitals, Beckert said last week. The rest were placed in the airborne isolation units.

Family members of residents who test positive are notified and ManorCare keeps in communication with them. 

As of today, Beckert said she did not have information regarding any more staff members testing positive. If any staff members have tested positive, “they would be home and not presently at the facility,” she said.

When asked to speculate how COVID-19 got into ManorCare in Jersey Shore, Beckert said, “We can’t comment on that. If it’s in the community and it’s rampant in the community, it’s going to get into the centers."

COVID-19 infections enter nursing homes through asymptomatic staff, Pa. Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine said today about the statewide nursing home outbreaks.

"Really how infections with COVID-19 entered nursing homes is with the staff. You can’t have visitors. So it's with the staff who are probably asymptotic people who have COVID-19," Levine said.

Case counts continue to rise in the Jersey Shore zip code of 17740, with a total of 78 cases reported by Pennsylvania Department of Health as of Tuesday, May 12. Lycoming County has an overall case count of 132 – an increase by 46 cases since Tuesday, May 5. A total of 1,442 individuals have tested negative in Lycoming County.

A daily report from Pennsylvania Department of Health shows that Lycoming County has two nursing homes that have positive cases as of Tuesday, with a total of 66 residents and 10 staff members affected. 

In step with the federal government, the state DOH will release the number of cases and deaths at individual nursing homes at the end of the week, Levine said.

"We were waiting for their guidance...we want to be sure we will be consistent with the federal guidelines," Levine said about nursing home case disclosures.

The U.S. National Guard will help Pennsylvania roll out the surveillance of population-based testing in some of Pennsylvania's hardest-hit nursing homes, Levine said today.

Levine didn't say which nursing homes are slated to receive help from the National Guard.

"We are still working with people at the National Guard in terms of how that will roll out. That will be very specific to facilities that are really challenged," Levine said.

Last week, Lycoming County Coroner Charles Kiessling Jr. confirmed four reported COVID-19 deaths in Lycoming County were at nursing homes.

As of Monday, Kiessling posted on the coroner’s office Facebook page that he had confirmed five additional deaths in the county, bringing the total to nine.

“These five persons had numerous medical problems including heart disease, lung disease, peripheral vascular disease, cerebraovascular disease, stroke, osteoporosis, COPD, dementia to name a few diagnosis,” he wrote on Facebook.

ManorCare started taking precautions to reduce the risk to patients when COVID-19 became prominent in March. Social activities ceased and visitation was restricted. The facility also stopped taking new admissions. Universal masking was implemented for staff and airborne isolation units were created for high risk patients. Staff in those dedicated units wear the appropriate personal protective equipment, according to ManorCare's official statement last week. 

Morgan Snook contributed to this report.