AARP Pennsylvania said state officials must increase COVID-19 testing capabilities to better protect the lives of residents and staff at the state’s nursing homes and other long-term care facilities.
The Pennsylvania Department of Health announced that all of the state’s nursing homes and personal care homes have been tested once for COVID-19. AARP State Director Bill Johnston-Walsh said one-time testing isn’t sufficient to protect residents and staff during the pandemic.
“COVID-19 is putting seniors living in nursing homes, assisted living, and other long-term care facilities in grave danger,” said Johnston-Walsh. “Regular testing is needed to prevent the spread of the coronavirus and save lives at our long-term living facilities.”
To date 69% of Pennsylvania’s COVID-19 fatalities have come from nursing home residents and staff.
Johnston-Walsh called for federal resources to be made available that would allow long-term care facilities to be tested weekly.
“For five months, nursing homes have been a hotbed for the virus—yet basic precautions like regular testing to protect residents and staff are still not in place.” he said. “Our elected leaders must act now to protect Pennsylvania’s long-term care residents and staff before the death toll rises even higher.”