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Woman says she watched sister die from COVID-19 on video at Beaver Co. nursing home

BEAVER CO., Pa. — A woman whose sister died from COVID-19 at a Beaver County nursing home is speaking out just a day after a class action lawsuit was filed against it.

Jamie Worthy told Channel 11 she watched her sister die for three days on an iPhone from coronavirus at Brighton Rehabilitation & Wellness Center.

Kim McCoy Warford, 64, had dementia and had been at Brighton for seven years.

“We couldn’t take it anymore,” said Worthy. "Then to see her suffering to breath on camera, and I finally just told her: ‘Kim, just go ahead and rest.’ And tears began to fall down the side of her eyes."

Worthy told Channel 11 the problems started after a doctor told her staff at Brighton put her sister in the same room with a person who tested positive for COVID-19.

She said Warford was rushed back and forth from the hospital in Beaver County to the nursing home before dying.

Worthy said she joined the lawsuit to force the Pennsylvania Department of Health to resume inspecting nursing homes. She also said her sister deserved better, and the other residents do as well.

“I want to be a voice for those people that can't speak out. I want to be a voice for the families that aren't being heard. I want to be a voice for the rest of the patients that's there,” Worthy said.

Attorney Robert F. Daley, who works for one of the four law firms involved in the lawsuit against the nursing home, told Channel 11 this is all about saving lives.

“They should be in there on the ground investigating infection control – not only at Brighton but other facilities around Pennsylvania – and they haven't done that," he said.

Daley said he filed a preliminary injunction Wednesday to speed up the lawsuit and force the state health department to do something.

The Pa. health department wouldn’t comment on the lawsuit but did send a statement about its current work with long-term care facilities:

"The department has been working with facilities that have seen significant outbreaks, including Brighton, as part of the work being done to assist nursing homes with outbreaks. Some of this work is being done by the department, some by ECRI, who we have contracted with, and some by other organizations.

"These situations are not easy for anyone, and we know congregate care settings have been hit particularly hard, as evident by the data on our website. The department does not believe that there were any serious red flags about the way Brighton has responded to the COVID-19 cases seen at the facility.

"Brighton brought in a new administrator earlier this year to work through some of the issues that occurred over the past few years.

"We are in regular contact with all Pennsylvania nursing homes, including Brighton Rehabilitation and Wellness Center, and filling their requests for supplies of personal protection equipment for staff to care for patients.

"We have been working to push personal protective equipment to all of our long-term care facilities in Pennsylvania and sent that equipment to facilities earlier this month. We have also been in constant communication with facilities of concern to assist them and check to see what potential needs they have, including PPE.

"The state has pushed out to all healthcare facilities, including nursing homes, nearly 3 million N95 masks, more than 238,000 gowns, close to 1.38 million procedure masks, more than 1.34 million gloves, more than 73,000 face shields, and more than 5,600 coveralls.

"There has been guidance shared with all nursing home facilities in Pennsylvania to assist them with COVID-19. In addition, we are sharing all of our COVID-19 related materials with them.

"Individuals who are in congregate care settings, such as nursing homes and the workers taking care of them, are among those prioritized by the department and many testing locations across the state.

"The department is also working with our contractor, ECRI, who is assisting long-term care facilities that have significant issues. This includes assisting with PPE consultation, what the needs of the facilities are, etc. ECRI has worked with more than 70 facilities as part of the contract.

"The 50 new cases per 100,000 population metric is just one metric being considered, and not meeting that threshold does not mean the others will not be considered. For example, we know there are some counties struggling with what is occurring in long-term care facilities, but the rest of the county has seen only a handful of cases. While those long-term care facility employees do need to be in the community, all of these things will be looked at. This will include testing capacity, hospital bed availability, the Carnegie-Mellon modeling, PPE availability among facilities, and other factors.

“Although, neither the state or Brighton Rehab will say how many residents have died at the facility, Levine did say that might happen in the near future.”

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