North Carolina begins testing for COVID-19 in private nursing homes
Posted July 6, 2020 4:44 a.m. EDT
Updated July 6, 2020 9:12 a.m. EDT
Starting this week, North Carolina will begin testing everyone who works or lives in private skilled nursing facilities for COVID-19.
Nursing homes are hot spots for COVID-19 outbreaks in North Carolina and across the country.
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.
"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."
To prevent more outbreaks, the state is working with CVS to provide over 60,000 tests in over 400 nursing homes across North Carolina.
Before, testing was only done if a facility had a positive test, but now all centers will be tested.
This will help the state identify positive cases earlier and better determine additional infection prevention and control measures necessary to contain the spread.
The tests should all be completed by Sept. 1, officials said.