OLYMPIA -- More time is needed to achieve the state’s goal of testing every resident and staff member in nursing homes across the state by this Friday, June 12.
As stated in the Secretary of Health’s order, June 12 was the date for every nursing home to:
- Offer COVID-19 tests to all residents and administer tests to all consenting residents,
- Require all staff to be tested for COVID-19 and administer tests to all staff, except those who declined with medical justification,
- Contact DOH for assistance if unable to test,
- Ensure timely and proper submission of test specimens to authorized laboratories, and
- Immediately report positive test results.
While teams across the COVID-19 response are working around the clock to support this process, inconsistent supplies remain an issue. Most recently, a shortage of shipping containers and cold packs has created complications for facilities to looking to return samples to a lab for processing. This means that some facilities may not be able to successfully finish the testing process for all staff and residents by the June 12 deadline.
Progress is being made, however:
- 187 facilities have either completed, received testing supplies or been shipped testing supplies.
- 2 orders are in the warehouse, and
- We are waiting to get number confirmation and needs from 22 facilities. Some of these 22 may have already tested.
Few shipments have gone out to memory care units as most are still being called to confirm their supply needs and update their status. DOH is working hard to get facilities the supplies they need to complete testing. However, if the deadline is missed, they will not be fined, and are just asked to complete testing as soon as feasible.
Testing staff and residents at nursing homes is a key part of the plan to protect communities most at risk for not only contracting the virus in a congregate setting, but suffering a bad outcome from COVID-19. Testing in nursing home remains a top priority, and DOH will continue to share progress updates soon.