The CDC recently compiled data from seven state or local health departments that conducted facility-wide testing in nursing homes. A total of 288 nursing homes conducted initial facility-wide testing during March 24-June 14 with turnaround times ranged from 1-7 days from testing until receipt of results. The study results were posted on August 14, 2020 and the discussion below summarizes the findings.
Facility-wide testing of residents and HCP in nursing homes can provide important insights into the epidemiology of SARS-CoV-2 transmission and permit early identification of cases to guide infection prevention and control interventions. Conducting facility-wide testing as soon as possible after identifying a case of COVID-19 offers advantages over other approaches. First, previously undetected cases can be identified; these data indicate that 79% of testing events performed in response to a known case identified unrecognized cases. Second, testing as soon as possible after identifying an initial case was associated with the identification of fewer cases and might improve the feasibility and effectiveness of cohorting and other isolation strategies aimed at interrupting transmission.
Testing guidance for nursing homes has suggested baseline testing of all residents and serial testing of HCP as part of the “reopening process”. In facilities without known COVID-19 cases, strategies to improve testing efficiency might focus on populations at highest risk for infection (HCP living in high-incidence areas or residents who might have been recently exposed during hospitalization or dialysis treatments). To review the information please click the link here.