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Program raises over $1 million to help nursing homes during pandemic

More than 800,000 pieces of personal protective equipment like gowns, masks and hand sanitizers were given out to long-term care facilities

DALLAS, Pa. — Nursing homes have been of particular concern during the pandemic. At the start of the outbreak, a program was started to help health care workers and residents in long-term facilities.

State leaders said more than 800,000 pieces of personal protective equipment like gowns, masks, and hand sanitizers were given out to nursing homes through the NEPA Nursing Home SOS Program.

The public-private partnership, they said, is helping more than 30 long-term facilities in Luzerne, Lackawanna, Monroe, and Carbon Counties. The Meadows in Dallas is one of them. Suzanne Gensel works there and she is also the daughter of a resident.

"I'm blessed to know that my father, who's now here, will be well taken care of. I've seen and all of you have seen the impact COVID-19 has had on the nursing home community," Gensel said.

State senator John Yudicahk helped set up the fund. It's raised more than one million dollars since it was created six months ago. Yudicahk noted nursing home residents are among the vulnerable to the virus.

"In Northeastern Pennsylvania, 512 nursing home residents have died from Covid-19 representing over 70% of the COVID-19 related deaths in the region," said Yudichak (I), 14th District. 

Christina Tarbox is The Meadows administrator. She said this funding has been a lifeline as it allows long-term care facilities to purchase the equipment they need.

"We have seen costs for PPE supplies triple since the pandemic. On average, we go through 5,000 surgical masks and 10,000 gowns a month," Tarbox said.

The Meadows has not had any cases of COVID-19. Tarbox said that is because employees and residents had access to the PPE they needed throughout the pandemic.

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