How one Pittsburgh-area nursing home avoided a coronavirus surge in the ongoing pandemic

It was March when Kara Chipps watched in horror as TV networks covered a novel coronavirus that surfaced in a suburb east of Seattle at the Life Care Center of Kirkland. Within five weeks of the first reported case in the United States, Washington state health officials were sounding the alarm about an outbreak. By early April, COVID-19 infected 129 residents, staff and visitors to the Kirkland nursing home and has been associated with at least 40 deaths. “We were watching the news and basically seeing the numbers go up,” said Chipps, assistant director of nursing at McMurray Hills Manor in Washington County, Pa. Because the average patient at McMurray is 84 years old, staff worried COVID could wreak havoc at the 115-bed nonprofit facility located 15 miles southwest of Pittsburgh.