Universal testing coming to all residents and staff at Delaware long term facilities

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COVID-19 has had a disproportionate effect on people who reside or work in long-term care facilities, including the 1.3 million individuals in nursing homes; 800,000 in assisted living facilities; 75,000 in intermediate care facilities; and 3 million people who work in skilled nursing or residential care facilities.

Wilmington (DE): High case and death rates may be attributed to a number of factors, including high rates of testing within long-term care facilities and low rates of testing of the general public. The total cases and deaths from reporting states accounts for just over half (53%) of all cases, and 81% of all deaths. Given that not all states are reporting data yet and the continual lag in testing, the counts of cases and deaths are an undercount of the true number of cases and deaths in long-term care facilities.

As of today, 202 Delawareans have passed away from covid-19 complications. Nine people have died from the disease. All of the individuals had underlying health conditions and seven of the individuals were residents of long-term care facilities.

As of today, 202 Delawareans have passed away due to complications from COVID-19.

On Tuesday, Governor Carney and the Delaware Division of Public Health (DPH) announced a plan to test all residents and staff of Delaware long-term care facilities for COVID-19. DPH will provide facilities with tests, testing supplies, training, and support for the universal testing program to protect the most vulnerable Delawareans. Expanding COVID-19 testing capacity for vulnerable populations is a requirement of federal guidance for economic reopening.

Public health experts at the Division of Public Health (DPH) will support clinicians at long-term care facilities with the new testing program. DPH will provide guidance on testing of symptomatic and asymptomatic persons and the interpretation of results.  DPH will also provide recommendations to protect residents and staff based on results, including transmission-based precautions, isolation, and patient and staff management strategies.

“I understand how hard this has been for Delawareans across our state. We’ve tried to find ways to ease the pain without compromising public health,” said Governor Carney. “But even these limited steps allowing businesses to offer additional services will require strict compliance with safety standards, especially social distancing. We cannot afford to go backwards and see new cases and hospitalizations spike. Getting used to a new normal won’t be easy, but this is the first step to being able to reopen our economy.”

“Residents of long-term care facilities are extremely vulnerable to complications from the virus that causes COVID-19 due to chronic health conditions,” said Dr. Karyl Rattay, Director of the Delaware Division of Public Health. “We are incredibly pleased to be able to support this testing strategy which will enable us to help the facilities better identify outbreaks among both staff and residents and contain the spread of the disease through a variety of interventions. It is an important component in our rapidly expanding testing strategy.”

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Delaware Newsline is a digital Delaware News Organization that provides local and national breaking news content to its Delaware and U.S. audience, by utilizing multiple platforms including web, social media, and video.

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