17848 DOH Testing Lab

Pennsylvania Commonwealth microbiologist Kerry Pollard performs a manual extraction of the coronavirus inside the extraction lab at the Pennsylvania Department of Health Bureau of Laboratories on Friday, March 6, 2020.

Update 5:20 p.m. May 8, 2020
Over 90% of Lancaster County's 225 COVID-19 deaths have been nursing home residents, Diamantoni said Friday evening as he provided updated numbers.
To date, he said, 208 deaths of nursing home or similar facility residents have been attributed to COVID-19. Of those, he said, 167 deaths happened in the homes and 41 happened after the resident had been transferred to a hospital.  

Posted May 7, 2020
Thirty-six nursing and retirement home residents have died of COVID-19 here in the past week, as the death toll grew at more facilities across a county known for its large number of senior-care communities. 

The number of COVID-19 deaths associated with Lancaster County nursing homes and retirement communities was up to 191 as of Tuesday, according to coroner Dr. Stephen Diamantoni.

More recent home-specific numbers were not immediately available, but as of Thursday afternoon Diamantoni said there had been 11 more nursing home deaths and the county's total COVID-19 death toll was up to 218. 

On Wednesday, April 29, the coroner said the home totals stood at 155, with more than half of the deaths concentrated in three facilities in Lancaster Township.

The home numbers include residents who died there and those who died after being taken to a hospital; the coroner has not provided a facility-specific breakdown, but as of last week roughly a quarter of those deaths were at hospitals.

Some of the hardest-hit nursing homes have had deaths equal to 10% to 20% of their total bed count.

But in the past week, most of the new deaths were from other homes, which had 29 compared to the combined seven from those three. Some are personal care homes or continuing care retirement communities that also have independent and assisted living facilities; the coroner's data includes deaths from anywhere in the community.

Luther Acres in Lititz had the most new deaths with 14 recorded over that time, rising from four to 18. A story LNP|LancasterOnline published Wednesday about those deaths, including comment from Luther Acres, is here

The three other facilities that have had the most overall cases so far saw smaller increases.

  • Conestoga View, a 446-bed facility, rose from 52 deaths to 56.
  • Hamilton Arms, a 94-bed facility, rose from 20 deaths to 21.
  • ManorCare Health Services Lancaster, a 172-bed facility, rose from 16 deaths to 18.

A story published Sunday including comment from Conestoga, Hamilton and ManorCare is here.

Overall, the coroner's data shows that 16 facilities have had deaths so far. Apart from the four already detailed, seven had additional deaths over that time and five have not. 

  • Lancashire Hall rose from 11 deaths to 16.
  • Mennonite Home Communities rose from 15 deaths to 16.
  • Homestead Village rose from six deaths to 10, according to the coroner's numbers. The home said its records showed nine deaths as of Tuesday and it has since had an additional one. Comment wasn't immediately available from the coroner on the apparent discrepancy.
  • Brethren Village rose from four deaths to six.
  • Faithful Living Community rose from two deaths to three.
  • St. John's Herr Estate rose from one death to two.
  • United Zion Retirement Community rose from one death to two.

The five without additional deaths over that time were as follows:

  • Newport Meadows Nursing & Rehabilitation Center, 12;
  • Mt. Hope Nazarene Retirement Community, five;
  • Pleasant View Communities, three;
  • Garden Spot Village, two;
  • Landis Homes, one. 

The coroner only counts cases in which his office or attending medical professionals determined COVID-19 was the primary cause of death. He’s not counting deaths where COVID-19 is deemed only a contributing factor, even if the person tested positive.