In less than a week, Luzerne County’s coronavirus fatalities have increased from 60 to 71.
County Manager C. David Pedri said Monday the rising death toll is so distressing, he no longer knows what words he can offer, other than continued thoughts and prayers to family members and a reminder that those lost were county residents who will be missed by children, grandchildren, neighbors and friends.
Following a continued trend, most of the latest victims — eight of the 11 — involved residents of nursing and personal care homes, according to information supplied by Pedri.
Four of the long-term care residents were women ages 82, 87, 90 and 100. The male nursing and personal care home victims were 64, 88, 90 and 91.
In addition, three county residents died at hospitals — a 73-year-old woman and two men 76 and 84.
All had underlying health conditions, Pedri said.
With the latest deaths, the county now has 34 female and 37 male coronavirus victims.
To date, 47 of the county’s deaths, or 66%, have stemmed from nursing and personal care homes, state statistics show.
The county now has confirmed cases involving 225 residents and 25 workers in 16 long-term care facilities.
The state is not identifying the nursing and personal care homes where victims resided.
Statewide, 62% of the coronavirus deaths reported to date — 990 of 1,597 — are linked to nursing and personal care homes.
State officials and a consultant have been working with long-term care facilities to ensure proper use of protective equipment and protocols to help prevent disease spread, Levine said during a briefing Monday.
In Northampton County, the National Guard was called in to assist at the Gracedale Nursing Home due to a high number of employees calling off from work, according to published reports.
Levine said the state is “very concerned” about the number of cases in long-term care facilities, noting other states and countries also have faced similar “significant challenges” with their nursing home populations during the pandemic.
Reach Jennifer Learn-Andes at 570-991-6388 or on Twitter @TLJenLearnAndes.