Maryland’s nursing homes are asking Gov. Larry Hogan to use a surge of 500,000 coronavirus tests obtained from South Korea to conduct universal testing on all of their residents and staff.
Testing has remained limited for anyone who isn’t showing symptoms of COVID-19 infection, but who are believed to have introduced the virus to vulnerable elderly populations. The leaders of three nursing home industry groups, the Health Facilities Association of Maryland, LifeSpan Network and Leading Age Maryland, say that has made it difficult for nursing home administrators to “proactively manage their communities.”
“While we understand the challenges associated with testing asymptomatic individuals, waiting for both employees and residents to develop symptoms almost guarantees additional infections,” they wrote in a letter to Hogan.
Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan discusses the four building blocks for recovery which includes wide spread testing for COVID-19.
Nursing homes in Maryland and around the country have been hit especially hard by the coronavirus pandemic. Maryland officials have said coronavirus cases have been confirmed in 169 of the state’s 226 nursing homes, and that 74% of the people the virus has killed in the state are age 60 or older.
The nursing home groups told the governor that facilities “have been left to contract with labs on their own for testing, a challenging and frustrating endeavor, but one deemed necessary to protect staff and residents.”