Nursing homes and COVID testing – Is a firmer approach needed?


Hello everyone,

During a wide-ranging briefing on Monday with Gov. John Carney and Public Health chief Karyl Rattay, we did get one piece of sobering news.

When it comes to testing all staff and patients at long-term care facilities, not every operator is fully on board.

In a way, the reluctance is understandable. Care facilities are struggling to adequately staff their facilities. It’s a long-running problem that got worse during the coronavirus pandemic.

Protective equipment has also been in short supply, although that situation has improved dramatically in the past couple of weeks.

Already, some staff with underlying health issues will stay away for obvious reasons.

If a number of employees test positive, the facility will struggle to offer care to their medically fragile residents.

Still, testing is an absolute necessity, not only to protect our most vulnerable citizens but also to reduce community spread of the disease from staff going home to their families and community.

State health officials have been focusing on nursing homes during the past couple of months as the virus accounted for a large percentage of the death toll.

The Carney administration, despite the “King John” label given by the Reopen Delaware folks, has taken. a largely non-confrontational approach to dealing with COVID-19.

The long-term care industry needs to develop a program that publicly recognizes top-notch facilities that are doing their best to improve conditions for staff and residents.

For facilities that don’t measure up, a firmer approach will be needed. – Doug Rainey, chief content officer.

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