Step up testing in nursing homes

After several months in which only a few cases of COVID-19 were reported at Northern Panhandle nursing homes, the virus has hit hard. Earlier this week, as we reported, nursing homes in the region were coping with a total of 25 cases of the disease.

Put that in perspective: Twenty-five or more cases in a single nursing home has not been unusual during the epidemic.

Two other numbers seem to indicate the source of the problem: Of the 25 cases, just six were nursing home residents. The remainder were staff members. It appears some of them carried the infection into their workplaces.

Don’t blame them. Instead, give them credit for staying at jobs that are demanding even in normal times.

One defense has been weekly testing of residents and staff members at nursing homes hit by the virus. Moving forward, it may be a good idea to begin weekly testing of employees at all nursing homes, even if there is no reason to believe the virus has invaded the facilities — because that can change literally overnight.


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