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Gregory co-sponsors resignation resolution

State Rep. Jim Gregory, R-Hollidaysburg, has signed on as co-sponsor for a resolution proposed by a Harrisburg-area representative calling for Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine to resign because of her handling of the coronavirus pandemic in long-term care facilities.

Residents of those facilities account for 68 percent of the state’s COVID-19 deaths.

“(Levine) instituted guidance for nursing facilities to admit and re-admit patients who were positive for COVID-19. By doing so, Dr. Levine has put our most vulnerable populations at even greater risk,” Rep. Russ Diamond wrote in the resolution, according to a news release from Gregory’s office.

In a May 11 Facebook post, Diamond cited March 18 “interim guidance” from the Department of Health stating that long-term care homes must continue to accept new admissions and receive re­­-admissions of current residents “who have been discharged from the hospital who are stable to alleviate the increasing burden on the acute care setting. This may include patients who have had the COVID-19 virus.”

The policy was “disastrous” and a similar policy was eventually repudiated by the state of New York, wrote State Sen. Doug Mastriano, R-Adams, in a news release, also on May 11, and also calling for Levine’s resignation.

There have been 13,626 residents and 2,111 employees infected in 561 facilities, with 3,086 deaths, according to the DoH website.

Several weeks ago, the department recommended segregating residents with COVID-19 from others; and last week it outlined guidance for testing of all residents and all employees in all homes.

Asked about the calls for her resignation, Levine pointed out on at least one of her daily webcasts that she works at the pleasure of the governor.

Asked about the call for Levine’s resignation, Gov. Tom Wolf has said on a webcast or conference call that she has done a “phenomenal” job.

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