Levine orders nursing homes to complete universal testing by July 24

    Pa. Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine during a briefing on Tuesday, 4/14/20 (screen capture)

    All of Pennsylvania’s roughly 2,000 personal care homes will need to complete COVID-19 testing on residents and staff no later than July 24, state Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine said Monday. 

    The order from Pennsylvania’s Department of Health is being issued, Levine said, to “rapidly detect asymptomatic residents and staff.”

    Levine said that the universal testing will help curtail the spread of COVID-19 in the state’s nursing and personal care facilities. 

    Levine said that she is “very confident” that facilities will meet the July 24 deadline for testing, adding that the Department previously did not have the test kits available to do universal testing this way in previous months, but said that it does now. 

    “We are confident in our ability to do this testing now,” Levine said during a Monday news briefing. 

    While many nursing and personal care home residents are on Medicare, which covers COVID-19 testing free-of-charge, Levine said the Department of Health would work with facilities that are struggling to get testing supplies. 

    “We will certainly work with nursing homes and long-term care facilities,” Levine said.

    Last week, Levine said that changes would be coming to regulations governing the state’s personal care homes, following criticism and recommendations from the state Auditor General’s office. 

    Levine did not say if the order to complete universal testing on personal care home residents and staff are based on those recommendations. 

    Following criticism, state officials are ‘rewriting’ regulation on long-term care homes

     

    Cassie Miller
    A native Pennsylvanian, Cassie Miller worked for various publications across the Midstate before joining the team at the Pennsylvania Capital-Star. In her previous roles, she has covered everything from local sports to the financial services industry. Miller has an extensive background in magazine writing, editing and design. She is a graduate of Penn State University where she served as the campus newspaper’s photo editor. She is currently pursuing her master’s degree in professional journalism at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. In addition to her role at the Capital-Star, Miller enjoys working on her independent zines, Dead Air and Infrared.