West Virginia nursing home residents and staff members will be retested for the 2019 novel coronavirus following an executive order issued Friday by Gov. Jim Justice (R).
“Just good enough is not good enough, so we’re just going to go back and retest everybody,” Justice said during a press conference.
The order was issued following inaccuracies and discrepancies among some test results, which Justice said he was said he was “sick and tired.” The retest should allow for the state to better serve the nursing home population by limiting the spread of the disease, and deaths, in long-term care facilities.
“I am issuing this order directing the [Department of Health and Human Resources] with the help of the National Guard to test or retest every single resident in all the nursing homes as well as all the staff,” Justice said.
“We’re going to go back and we’re going to test everybody. Every single person in every nursing home, every resident, as well as all the staff,” he added.
In other coronavirus-related news:
• Major long-term care associations are celebrating “Careers in Aging Week,” including the American Health Care Association, LeadingAge, Argentum and the Gerontological Society of America. The groups are taking the week to highlight work being done in the long-term care profession during the COVID-19 pandemic.
• The CDC has added some symptoms to keep an eye out for, specifically when talking about long-term care residents and older adults, reported Jodi Eyigor, LeadingAge’s Director of Nursing Homes and Quality on a Friday conference call with providers.
“We’re still looking for fever, new or changed cough, shortness of breath and difficulty of breathing. But they’re now saying to look out for muscle aches,” Eyigor said. “They’ve also included some information about atypical symptoms that you could see in older adults. They include new or worsening malaise, dizziness or diarrhea. And if you do have one of your residents experiencing these atypical symptoms, this should prompt isolation and further evaluation for COVID-19. It doesn’t necessarily mean they are COVID-positive.”
• The CDC also added one word to its face-mask prioritization guidance, and it “makes a big difference,” Eyigor said. The update refers to surgical masks, which should be reserved for healthcare personnel and COVID-suspected residents.
“The word that has been added is ‘then.’ So your face mask priorities are for healthcare personnel personnel and THEN the COVID-19 positive or suspected positive residents. And, of course, cloth masks for any other residents,” Eyigor said, adding that N95 masks are still preferred for COVID-positive situations.
• Cornerstone Rehabilitation and Healthcare Center in Mississippi shared a video that demonstrates they aren’t “just surviving, but thriving” as they dance to the Bee Gees classic “Stayin’ Alive” while educating viewers about safe hygiene and social distancing practices.