Group Home Providers Now have access to rapid antigen testing kits

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State Brings Rapid Antigen Testing to Providers Working in Delaware Group Homes for Individuals with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities

NEW CASTLE (DE) 012121: The Division of Developmental Disabilities Services (DDDS) in partnership with the Division of Public Health (DPH) is bringing a rapid COVID-19 testing program to group homes, day programs and other provider-managed settings in Delaware that serve individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities., according to a news release.

The release, which was sent by the Delaware Division of Health, explains, “Beginning this month, Delaware provider agencies serving individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities have access to rapid antigen testing kits that detect active COVID-19 virus in 15 minutes.”

“These testing kits are going to be a very welcomed resource to our provider community,” said Cory Nourie, Director of Community Services for DDDS. “Many of the individuals we support across the state have underlying health conditions that make them particularly vulnerable to COVID-19. But they also rely on the close contact and care provided to them daily by their direct support professionals and can’t always benefit from the standard tools of mask wearing and social distancing that others rely upon for staying safe. We’ve been waiting for a tool like this to be available, and I’m so excited we now have it for our provider network.”

U.S. Navy Cmdr. Youwei Lin, from Lexington, Mass. (left) and Lt. Cmdr. Trevares Baker, of Pensacola, Fla., monitor patient information during a surgery aboard the hospital ship USNS Mercy. Mercy deployed to support the nation’s COVID-19 response and is serving as a referral hospital for non-COVID-19 patients admitted to shore-based hospitals. This allows shore-based hospitals to focus their efforts exclusively on COVID-19 cases. The Department of Defense is supporting FEMA, as well as state, local and public health authorities in helping protect the health and safety of the American people.

Dr. Rick Pescatore, Chief Physician for the Division of Public Health, said, “During the pandemic, the state has been working to increase access to fast, accurate testing options. We all know that the sooner we can identify an individual as COVID positive, the sooner we can begin the process of isolation and contact tracing to minimize the spread of this terrible disease.”

“Getting access to rapid antigen testing is exactly what we were looking for and its use in the group home and congregate settings is a smart way to use this tool,” Pescatore added. “We’re excited to see this get out into the field and to see what impact it can have.”

The test is administered in the provider-managed setting by a trained staff member using a shallow nasal swab and a couple of drops of indicator, that when combined, provide a result in 15 minutes. Participating providers are able to test their direct support professionals on-site and identify asymptomatic COVID-19 positive individuals. This, in conjunction with the other safety precautions already in place, will provide an added level of protection and assistance in mitigating the spread to vulnerable Delawareans. Individuals testing positive will be required to isolate at home and obtain a PCR COVID test through Curative to confirm the rapid test. They will not return to work until they provide a negative PCR result or have completed their isolation period.

“The rapid test gives us one more option for ensuring the safety of service recipients and staff until we can bring the COVID-19 vaccine to everyone,” Nourie said.

The Rapid Antigen Tests are provided by Delaware’s State Health Operations Center. Providers interested in testing must obtain a CLIA waiver, a federally mandated waiver that allows laboratory testing to be performed outside of a traditional laboratory setting. Once the waiver has been obtained, and staff have been trained by DPH, testing kits are delivered directly from the State to providers.

The Division of Developmental Disabilities Services (DDDS) has more than 5,000 service recipients statewide, including 1,270 who receive residential habilitation services in group homes and similar community-based settings.

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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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