Health Team

NC, CVS Omnicare partner to provide free coronavirus tests to all residents, staff at private nursing homes across the state

Posted June 30, 2020 2:25 p.m. EDT
Updated June 30, 2020 11:39 p.m. EDT

— North Carolina Secretary of Health and Human Services Dr. Mandy Cohen announced on Tuesday a partnership between the state and Omnicare, a CVS Health company, to provide and pay for proactive coronavirus tests for the approximately 36,000 residents and more than 30,000 staff in over 400 private, skilled nursing homes statewide.

Testing will begin in July and continue through August, with a goal of performing 60,000 tests by Sept. 1.

DHHS already recommends that nursing homes with one or more cases test all staff and residents. This initiative further makes testing available to all nursing homes to conduct a baseline test of all residents and staff.

The state updates coronavirus data weekly from "congregate living settings," which include nursing homes, residential care facilities and correctional facilities. Through June 26, 8,605 confirmed cases of the virus and 767 deaths out of 1,362 total were recorded in those facilities. Eighty percent of those who have died of coronavirus in North Carolina have been over the age of 65.

COVID-19 outbreaks in NC long-term care facilities

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The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services started releasing locations of ongoing COVID-19 outbreaks in so-called congregate living settings, like nursing homes, adult homes and group homes, on April 27. The health agency defines an outbreak as two or more lab-confirmed cases in patients who weren't diagnosed with the disease before arriving at the facility. DHHS plans to update the data every Tuesday and Friday. Entries marked "**" indicate ongoing investigations by DHHS.

Source: N.C. DHHS // Updated: As of Sept. 15

"The death rate in those over 75 is still high compared to other groups," Cohen said. "Nursing home numbers may be going down mainly because we have more non-nursing home cases due to spread across state."​

“While testing is a key component of our COVID-response strategy, it is important to remember that the actions we take as a result of that testing are most important,” said Dr. Susan Kansagra, DHHS section chief of chronic disease and injury. “Testing will enable our skilled nursing facilities to identify positive cases earlier and better determine additional infection prevention and control measures necessary to contain spread.”

CVS Health will bill insurance as possible, and DHHS will cover any additional costs for testing. Facilities should continue to follow recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for repeat testing and work with community and private vendors to support ongoing testing needs.

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