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State expands COVID-19 testing to all nursing home residents, staff

Omnicare, a CVS Health company, will now make testing available to all nursing home residents and staff
Published: Jun. 30, 2020 at 8:25 PM EDT
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RALEIGH, N.C. (WITN) -

North Carolina health officials announced Tuesday that all residents and staff at nursing homes in the state will be tested for COVID-19.

There are more than 400 nursing homes across North Carolina, accounting for more than 36,000 residents and 30,000 employees.

The state had already recommended previously that any facilities with one or more cases test all residents and staff but a new partnership with Omnicare, a CVS Health company, will now make testing available to all residents and staff whether there is an outbreak or not.

Right now, state leaders say there are more than 4,400 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in nursing homes across North Carolina, with 660 deaths. That’s number that represents nearly half of the total fatal cases statewide.

"The Department of Health and Human Services is surveying all nursing homes on infection control," said state health secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen. "Testing is also a key part of our strategy. Currently, all residents and staff are tested when there is one case of COVID in a long-term care setting. We also have begun proactive testing of all staff and residents of nursing homes," she added.

South Carolina made a similar decision back in May before the state began seeing similar spikes that are now occurring in both states.

The state also says that nursing homes and long term care facilities should continue to follow CDC guidelines in regards to repeat testing, which recommends testing all employees and staff every three-to-seven days until no positive cases are identified.

Testing will begin in July and will go through August.

Copyright 2020 WITN. All rights reserved.

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