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Pa. Department of Health to give update on nursing home visitation guidance

The updated guidance comes as COVID-19 cases in nursing homes have declined by 82% since vaccinations began in December 2020.

HARRISBURG, Pa. — On March 29, the Pa. Department of Health will give an update on mitigation efforts at long-term care facilities as infection rates at these facilities are significantly decreasing.

It's been more than a year since strict mitigation efforts were put in place at many long-term care facilities across the state. They quickly became hotspots for the virus, with more than half of the state's nearly 25,000 COVID-19 deaths involving long-term care residents. 

In the U.S., COVID-19 cases in nursing homes have declined 82% since December 2020, and deaths have dropped by 63% in that same time period. These numbers come after more than 315,000 doses of the vaccine were given to people living and working in long-term care facilities. They were prioritized in Phase 1A of that state's vaccination plan, and were helped by the Federal Pharmacy Partnership Program by CVS and Walgreen's. The pharmacies focused on vaccinating everyone in long term-care facilities before opening up vaccines to other people in Phase 1A. 

Earlier this month, Pennsylvania House GOP moved forward on an investigation into the Wolf Administration's COVID-19 response at nursing homes. They claim the Wolf Administration had not been transparent with the decisions made regarding nursing homes at the start of the pandemic. 

The Governor's Office has said, "there are baseless and ongoing insinuations by the GOP to portray a significant lack of understanding of the role of the Department of Health and guidance provided to nursing facilities."

Today's update on visitation guidance for long-term care facilities is expected to take place at 10 a.m. 

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