NEW BRIGHTON, Pa. (KDKA) -- The National Guard is being deployed to help fight the coronavirus outbreak at the Brighton Rehabilitation and Wellness Center in Beaver County.
With over 300 people testing positive for the coronavirus at the facility, and more than 70 dying from the virus, the plea for help from families and workers was finally answered.
"What we do know, we know very little," said Beaver County Commissioner, Daniel Camp.
Beaver County Commissioner Daniel Camp said it happened quickly. They weren't given too much information, other than assistance from the National Guard would be coming.
Starting Monday, 27 members of the Pennsylvania National Guard will be doing various housekeeping jobs at the center. Four trucks, all hauling trailers, showed up just before 7 this morning.
The national guardsmen's duties will consist of cleaning, meal prep and service. They will also help with bathing and feeding.
Officials say they'll be doing all of this while guard members will be using personal protective equipment and have disinfectant on hand at all times.
"From what I can tell, they moved it up a little quicker. The help is here already so they must've did the needs-based assessment this weekend," said Camp.
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Camp says their office has been critical about the state health department's response to what was happening inside the facility.
He said Brighton requested help in late March, all while the virus continued to spread. It was on May 8 when the National Guard did an offsite assessment to determine how they could best support the facility. The next day, they toured the center.
"Over 90 percent of the deaths in Beaver County have come out of this facility," said Camp.
This relief comes days after Congressman Conor Lamb requested federal resources and for an investigation to begin at the facility for its "lax oversight" during this pandemic.
Lamb said that severe mistakes were made and something needs to change.
KDKA has learned from the Pennsylvania Department of Health that nursing homes make up 70 percent of COVID-19 deaths statewide.
Many other nursing homes have also received help from the National Guard.
Brighton officials tell KDKA that the members of the National Guard will not be living at the facility -- and that they will be assisting the center through May 18.
"I do believe that with the PA National Guard here, it's going to help and getting those accurate numbers out and letting the public know how many positive cases and how many deaths that came out of this facility," said Camp.
Brighton Rehab and Wellness Center released this statement Monday morning:
"Beginning immediately, Brighton will join seven other long-term care facilities in the state to have requested and receive additional personnel and logistics support from the Pennsylvania National Guard to assist our teams in the fight against COVID-19. While we continue to make positive strides in our efforts to control and prevent the further spread of COVID-19, support from the National Guard will allow our facility to get much-needed relief by permitting our nurses and aides to redirect their time and attention to the increasing health needs of our residents.
"Moving forward, we will continue to take every precaution necessary to keep our residents and our staff as safe as possible and reduce the spread of this unprecedented virus."
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