Coroner: Majority of COVID-19 deaths at long-term care facilities; total county deaths to date 274, death rate declining

WEST CHESTER — According to information issued Monday by the Chester County Coroner’s Office, the deadliest toll from the COVID-19 virus has taken place at the county’s long-term care facilities.

Between March 28 and May 17,  a total of 274 confirmed or probable COVID-19 deaths were reported to the Chester County Coroner’s Office. Of those, 229 (83.6%) were residents of long-term care facilities. Both total deaths and long-term care facility deaths have decreased over the past 10 days compared to previous weeks.

According to the Chester County Health Department, there are 75 licensed long-term care and personal care homes in the County with 37 (49%) having experienced an outbreak, defined as at least one positive case. Thirty Chester County facilities have reported one or more COVID-19 deaths to the Coroner’s Office. Seven of those facilities plus a nearby Montgomery County facility have had 10 or more residents die of confirmed or probable COVID-19.

The Southeastern Veterans Center in East Vincent Township has had 37 residents who have died either at the facility or at a local hospital. The other 6 Chester County long-term care facilities with 10 or more deaths are Green Meadows in Willistown Township, Brandywine Hall in East Bradford Township, Barclay Friends in West Chester Borough, Phoenix Center in Phoenixville, Wellington in East Goshen, and Bellingham in East Goshen Township.

Contrary to a previous report, the Park Lane facility at Bellingham has not had any COVID-19 deaths. Four other Chester County long-term care communities have had at least 5 deaths. In addition, 24 residents of Parkhouse Rehabilitation and Nursing Center, a facility in Royersford, Montgomery County, died after transport and admission to a Chester County hospital. Coroners count all deaths that occur within a County, regardless of the residence of the decedent.

“These statistics don’t begin to tell the story of this tragedy,” said Chester County Coroner Dr. Christina VandePol. “Each death is the death of an individual who lived a long life and will be missed by many, including those who took care of them in their last years, months, and days. Why elders living in congregate care settings, particularly those with dementia or hypertension, are targets of the SARS-CoV-2 virus is not yet understood. But they are and we need to be doing everything possible to prevent more deaths. The scrutiny and planned investigation of long-term care facilities recently announced by both state and federal agencies is overdue. Universal testing of residents and staff recently ordered by the state is one step in the right direction, but we need to find out what went wrong and how to do better in the future. ”

The numbers of deaths reported here need to be interpreted with caution because facilities differ in size and in the type of patients they care for. Many facilities have multiple levels of care and often only one area is affected. Only the common name of the facility is listed.

 

Long-Term Care Facilities with at least 5 COVID-19 Deaths

Facility Township # of deaths reported
Southeastern Veterans Center East Vincent 37
Green Meadows Willistown 31
Brandywine Hall East Bradford 28
Parkhouse Nursing and Rehabilitation Montgomery County* 24
Barclay Friends West Chester 17
Bellingham East Goshen 16
Phoenix Center Phoenixville 11
Wellington East Goshen 10
Arbor Terrace Willistown 6
Highgate at Paoli Pointe Tredyffrin 6
Simpson Meadows East Caln 7
St. Martha’s Caln 7

*Death occurred in a Chester County hospital

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