Coronavirus Update 09/14/2020
As COVID-19 continues to impact communities all over the country, we wanted to take a few moments to provide two new updates:
Routine COVID-19 Point-of-Care Testing
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ (CMS) has made a commitment to deliver point-of-care (POC) testing devices to every nursing home in the country. These POC tests are antigen tests that are different from both the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests and antibody (serology) tests. Like the PCR tests, antigen tests also look for the virus, but they have the very important advantage of being far faster—providing results within an hour of sampling. Because PCR tests require samples to be sent out to a lab, turnaround time often takes several days. PCR tests will still be utilized where appropriate. Antibody tests, by contrast, look to see whether the patient may have developed an immune response to the infection.
The ability to have easy access to instant results will allow us to more effectively fight this virus through routine testing of our staff, providers and others that can be adjusted in frequency, based on the level of transmission risk in the community. Additionally, it will provide rapid results for testing new patients upon admission and during initial observation periods, as well as residents who exhibit symptoms consistent with COVID-19. We expect that all centers will receive the antigen POC testing devices and be actively testing within the next few weeks.
Tracking COVID-19 Community Transmission Risk to Help Inform Processes
We have created analytic tools to help us track the risk of COVID transmission in each local community and have tailored center-specific precautions and protocols to adapt to community risk levels. Every week, centers will receive an update on how their local communities have done containing the virus during the past week.
When rates of local community transmission are HIGHER, centers are more restrictive with precautions. When community transmission is LOWER, centers continue good practices of infection control - social distancing, mask wearing and frequent hand washing - but may be able to flex their precautions (subject to state and local rules and regulations) in areas that are extremely important to our residents and their families, including:
Participation in group activities
Volunteer and other third-party indoor access
Transportation to/from appointments
With increased implementation of testing, diligent practice of infection prevention protocols and up-to-date communication of the current risk for transmission in each community, Genesis centers are leading the way in providing safer post-acute and long-term care for our patients and residents, and achieving the confidence and trust of their loved ones.