Jersey Shore, Pa. – As of the week of June 1, a total of 17 residents have recovered from COVID-19 at ManorCare in Jersey Shore, according to Julie Beckert, assistant vice president and director of marketing and communications at the ManorCare corporate office in Toledo, Ohio.

There are currently 33 residents who are currently positive and being treated in house in airborne isolation units, she said.

The number of recovered residents is different than the figure of 19 that Beckert gave on May 26. She said she could not find the discrepancy, but the company did recently move from manual to electronic tracking so the current numbers are more accurate.

Lycoming County Coroner Charles Kiessling Jr. said at least 20 residents from the facility on Thompson Street have died.

Last week, Misty Dion, chief executive officer of Roads to Freedom Center for Independent Living, began working on a transition process for residents who wanted to move out of the facility and into a hotel room where they could quarantine safely.

Dion's agency is accredited by the Pennsylvania Department of Health. The transition process is part of a COVID-19 relief program that is mainly funded through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). A caregiver would be on the premises of the hotel and 24-hour care would be available. Skilled nursing also would be provided.

Dion has asked the Lycoming County Commissioners to allocate $250,000 to help offset care costs. As of Tuesday, the county had not yet approved allocating the funds, Dion said. If funding is not provided from the county, there will still FEMA funds to put toward the program. Funding from Home and Community Based Services funded by Medicaid also can be used for the patients transitioning out of the nursing home.

Beckert issued a statement from ManorCare regarding the transition of patients that Roads to Freedom Center for Independent Living is facilitating, calling the move “irresponsible.”

“We are extremely disappointed that a non-clinical group would push to move patients who require skilled nursing level care to a hotel. This would be irresponsible since a hotel environment with little to no clinical staff would not be able to provide 24-hour skilled care. This could include proper nutrition, hydration, daily activities such as bathing and dressing, medical care needs such as medications, IVs and wound care along with engagement and therapy services. ManorCare Health Services – Jersey Shore has the clinical leadership and trained team members to care for patients requiring this level of care in our center,” Beckert said in the statement.

She added that the facility has done extensive COVID-19 testing of patients and many patients have recovered in house. Just over a dozen employees had previously tested positive. 

“We have also encouraged employee testing and the employees who have tested positive have recovered and are back at work. We are meeting and exceeding required staffing levels. We will continue to test patients and employees,” Beckert said in the statement.

Patients who have tested positive have been co-horted with positive patients under the airborne isolation precautions. Beckert emphasized that patients who test negative for COVID-19 are not housed with patients who test positive. Those who test negative continue to get tested every week.

“We are focused on updating and informing families and have not had any families ask to move their loved ones out of the center,” Beckert said.

Staffing levels are currently good, Beckert said. Supplies also are adequate and the Pennsylvania Department of Health has assisted ManorCare in obtaining supplies needed.

“We added universal goggles or eye shields along with our universal face mask mandate.  This along with our vigilant handwashing and other protocols helps contain and reduce the spread of the virus.

"We are proud of all the hard work the ManorCare – Jersey shore team has done during this unprecedented time,” Beckert said.