The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s director stressed the need for repeated testing of staff members to stop the spread of COVID-19 in nursing homes. 

“Our experience continues to show that rapid and wide-scale testing in response to a new case in a setting of the nursing home is the best way to limit the transmission,” Robert Redfield, M.D., told nursing home stakeholders in September.

The federal government in late August announced new regulations that mandate nursing homes routinely test staff members for COVID-19 as part of an effort to identify asymptomatic people who could spread the virus.

Redfield said health officials want to “underscore how important it is to conduct comprehensive testing as part of outbreak investigations. 

“There can be a substantial increase in the number of individuals that actually become infected based on delays of even several days. It’s critically important in these settings to have follow-up, repeated rounds of testing until no new cases are identified,” Redfield explained.