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State Order Requires Nursing Homes To Test All Residents And Staff By Late July

Mary Altaffer
A registered nurse draws blood during a COVID-19 antibody test drive at the Abyssinian Baptist Church, Thursday, May 14, 2020, in the Harlem neighborhood of the Manhattan.

Gov. Tom Wolf is ordering Pennsylvania nursing homes to test all residents and staff for coronavirus at least once by July 24.

The so-called “baseline” testing will allow health experts to get at how many people have the virus but who are asymptomatic, said Department of Health Secretary Doctor Rachel Levine.

The testing has already been proven to work in the five homes that tested the method in a pilot program. Now, a state-funded coalition of health systems will help the state’s more than 600 homes meet that goal.

“We will ensure that it will happen by July 24…and I am very confident that every facility, every nursing home facility will be done by that time,” Levine said.

So far, more than 75 nursing facilities have completed their widespread testing, something the state says is helping to contribute to the decline in positive cases.

Nursing homes have been the center of coronavirus-related deaths in Pennsylvania, with a quarter of all cases statewide among staff or residents.

More than 4,000 nursing home and personal care facility residents have died from COVID-19 — more than two-thirds of all deaths from the virus in the commonwealth.

Read more from our partners, WITF.

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