11 Investigates: Another COVID outbreak at Brighton Rehab

BEAVER COUNTY, Pa. — 11 Investigates has learned that Brighton Rehabilitation and Wellness Center in Beaver County is again experiencing a COVID-19 outbreak.

The nursing home, the site of one of the worst COVID outbreaks in the state during the pandemic, has been dealing with this latest outbreak for at least the past couple of weeks.

The facility’s COVID hotline reported 22 active COVID cases among residents and three among staff as of Tuesday, Aug. 30. That number was updated on its hotline as of, Tuesday, Sept. 6. Brighton is now reporting the number of residents with active COVID is down to 10 active cases and one employee.

Concerned friend

A friend of one of the residents contacted 11 Investigates concerned about the outbreak, given the history of so many COVID deaths at the facility. Nearly 80 patients died at the height of the pandemic.

The friend asked us not to use their or the resident’s name because they feared retaliation. She said her friend tested positive last week and was quickly moved out of his room and taken to another floor with several other COVID patients.

“They said to gather your things in five minutes and get out of the room,” she said. “There were three roommates, so they wanted to get him out of there.”

Brighton Rehab rooms typically house four residents per room.

Infection Control Protocols

As 11 Investigates reported in April of 2020, in the early months of the pandemic, Brighton failed to separate COVID-positive patients from those who were not ill, which contributed to one of the worst COVID outbreaks in the state. The National Guard eventually had to be called in to help stabilize the situation.

Back then, many family members told 11 Investigates they had a very difficult time getting updates on the condition of their loved ones.

Brighton now has a COVID-19 hotline to provide basic updates. 11 Investigates called the hotline number to confirm the facility was experiencing an outbreak.

“The center currently has 22 residents and three staff active COVID cases,” the recorded hotline message said. “Units under exposure status are 2-Main, 3-Main, 2-West, and 4-East.”

The message, which had not been updated since Aug. 30, also said the facility is still open for visitation and “following CDC and state guidelines to keep our residents safe.”

Those protocols include moving residents who test positive to a COVID wing for isolation.

“We are cohorting residents to avoid transmission between ill and well individuals and regularly screening residents and staff for symptoms,” the message said.

11 Investigates contacted Brighton Rehab to get an update on the number of current COVID cases and to find out if there have been any COVID-related deaths due to the outbreak. A receptionist directed Channel 11 to Brighton’s public relations company, Braithwaite Communications, for any further information.

Braithwaite said facility leadership was in the process of updating the hotline but would not provide updated numbers on how many current cases there are or if there have been any deaths.

Braithwaite provided this statement from “facility leadership”:

“At Brighton, our staff is working diligently to care for all residents

and continues to follow all health and safety recommendations and

COVID-19 infection control protocols provided by the CDC.”

Friend recovering

The individual who contacted 11 Investigates says her friend was told he would need to quarantine for at least 10 days.

“He didn’t get too sick. He had a sore throat,” she said. “He says he’s feeling better now.”

This latest outbreak comes just weeks after Brighton’s CEO and several other company executives were federally indicted on health care fraud charges. At that same news conference, Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro confirmed that an investigation continues into possible patient neglect at the facility during the pandemic.

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