Delaware plans to start universal testing at long-term care facilities
Delaware is taking an aggressive step to address the spread of COVID-19 cases at long-term care facilities statewide.
Gov. John Carney announced Tuesday the state plans to start testing all residents and staff at these facilities for the virus regardless of whether they have symptoms.
The Division of Public Health will provide the tests, testing supplies, and training to make this universal testing happen.
121 of the Delaware’s 187 COVID-19 deaths to date have involved residents of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities.
Delaware Division of Public Health Director Dr. Karyl Rattay says given how the virus operates comprehensive testing is needed to protect this vulnerable population.
“What has become clear is that since there is asymptomatic spread that is so common, it makes it more challenging to really identify and isolate individuals that may be spreading the infection," said Rattay.
Rattay adds the state is also receiving help from a federal Disaster Management Assistance Team.
“We’ve had this team here working with us for a little over a week now and it's actually 10 nurses who are helping us to go out to long-term care facilities to really train them on PPE, but also help these facilities understand what to do with positive tests and how to safely isolate people,” Rattay said.
Rattay adds these nurses from Wilmington VA hospital will now help with testing at long-term care facilities as well.
The move to universal testing at long-term care facilities is consistent with new CDC guidance released Sunday prioritizing this type of initiative.