New mandate: All nursing homes must test staff for COVID-19

There's a new federal mandate. All nursing homes must test their staff for COVID-19. 

(LINCOLN, Neb.)- As nursing homes continue to take care of their staff and residents during a pandemic, President Trump has issued that staff must get tested for COVID-19. A local president of a nursing home says it has its positives and its drawbacks.

“Over the course of dealing with COVID, we have been running testing on any of our guests or residents who have developed symptoms or anything like that,” said Jim Janicki, Hillcrest Firethorn.

Homes like Hillcrest Firethorn were already taking DHHS safety measures googles, masks for staff and residents, safe visits outdoors, and indoors if allowed.
Also, testing was done if needed. Now the Trump administration requires testing for staff to be mandatory. How often?
Janicki says it’s based on the COVID-19 positivity rate in the community.

“Let’s say if Lancaster County has more than a 10 percent positivity rate, which we hope it doesn’t go that high,” said Janicki. “We may have to test staff up to twice a week. If it’s between 5 and 10 percent, we may test once a week, and below 5 percent maybe once a month.”

Janicki adds there are many tests for COVID-19 that range from $5 to $80. And many like him are wondering, who is going to pay for it?

“The contract with Test Nebraska has enabled us to use Test Nebraska and have them pay for the testing,” said Janicki. “But the futures unclear at this point so we don’t know. We’ve already started to order some of our own tests.”

Janicki says if Lincoln’s community dial increases or decreases, it affects testing and visits for residents.
“So its really important for the community to understand that their actions and the risk behavior that they take, actually, impacts nursing homes and assisted living facilities, and their loved ones,” adds Janicki. “So our goal is to see that positivity rate drop so that we don’t have to test as often.”

He encourages the community to stay safe as well as every step affects nursing homes and your community around you.

Categories: Consumer News, Coronavirus, Health, Nebraska News