Department of Health gives an update on universal testing in nursing homes

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HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — On June 8, Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine ordered nursing homes to complete and report universal testing for Covid-19 at least once by July 24.

During Tuesday’s press conference, Levine announced all 693 skilled nursing homes in Pennsylvania completed testing all residents and staff for coronavirus.

“This was an essential step to ensure that we further protect residents and staff within these vulnerable communities,” she said.

The goal of testing was to rapidly detect asymptomatic people. Facilities are now one step closer to resume visitation, communal dining, and activities.

“I would recommend that the family call the facility and they’ll know exactly where they are and can tell when the visitors are able to start if the facilities had cases then, of course, they have to start again in terms of their infection control and then re-test and then they’ll be able to allow visitors,” said Levine.

Levine says testing is not a one-time thing and will continue. Personal care homes, assisted living residents and immediate care facilities have until August 31 to complete its universal testing.

The health department reported 24 new deaths and 1,120 additional positive cases on Tuesday. Allegheny, Philadelphia and Delaware counties are reporting high case counts.

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