Facility-Wide Serial Testing for SARS-CoV-2

Angie SzumlinskiAnnouncements, Case Study

Facility-wide, serial testing in skilled nursing facilities (SNFs) can identify asymptomatic SARS-CoV-2 infections among health care personnel (HCP) and residents to inform mitigation efforts. A recent report published on the CDC.gov website provided additional information on this topic when two Minnesota SNFs identified COVID-19 cases among 64% of residents and 33% of HCP. Genetic sequencing found facility-specific clustering of viral genomes from HCP and residents’ specimens, suggesting intra-facility transmission.

So what does this mean in English? The study downs that HCP working in SNFs are at risk for infection during COVID-19 outbreaks. To protect residents and prevent SARS-CoV-2 infection among HCP, SNFs need enhanced infection prevention and control practices, assured availability of personal protective equipment, improved HCP testing participation, flexible medical leave and timely result reporting.

The bottom line, the jury is still out, there is a lot of discussion on the value of facility-wide testing especially as it relates to falls positive/negative results. However, in this study, SARS-CoV-2 transmission was decreased by early identification of asymptomatic infections through the introduction of facility-wide testing and prompt implementation of mitigation efforts including cohorts of infected residents and exclusion of infected HCP in two SNFs.

Stay well, stay safe and stay tuned!