Last month, the governor issued an order that required Pennsylvania nursing homes to complete initial baseline testing of all residents and staff by July 24. The tests collected this way must be submitted to a lab approved by the State Public Health Laboratory. Any resident who refuses to be tested can do so and will be treated as a potential COVID-exposed patient for 14 days. Staff members who refuse testing will be treated according to their HR policy regarding COVID testing.
Secretary of Health Rachel Levine said that she was planning on using universal testing in every long-term care facility in the state to detect asymptomatic patients and prevent spread. Across the U.S., nursing homes are linked to 10% of all COVID cases and 42% of COVID cases, according to the New York Times. With such a high volume of COVID deaths associated with long-term care facilities, universal testing makes sense.
The problem now is whether nursing homes are willing to spend the resources it takes to conduct widespread testing before July 24. A trade association of nursing homes across the state criticized the universal testing order, saying that long-term care facilities will need resources to care for confirmed COVID cases, including replacement staff.
But nursing homes have long had a problem with understaffing its facilities. Nursing homes in Pennsylvania were once ranked among the worst in the nation for providing dignified care to our elderly, but we’ve since improved as a state. Still, we have a long way to go before we can say that we’re caring for our elderly with the staffing and resources they deserve.
If your loved one contracted coronavirus while at a nursing home, or suffered any kind of neglect or abuse while staying there, speak with our nursing home abuse attorneys at (888) 498-3023 today.