Preventing COVID-19 Outbreaks – Preemptive Testing

Angie Szumlinski Studies

Residents of long-term care facilities (LTCFs) are at risk for severe COVID-19. Facility-wide testing, even in the absence of a reported COVID-19 case, can identify asymptomatic and pre-symptomatic infection in LTCFs. Per the CDC, facilities where testing was conducted after a confirmed case of COVID-19 were found to have significantly higher proportions of infected residents and staff members at initial testing and after 4 weeks of follow-up, compared with those testing as a preventive measure. The majority of LTCFs testing as a preventive measure identified infection, although initial prevalence was significantly lower, and fewer cases occurred during follow-up.

This study was conducted in the state of Georgia. The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the vulnerability of residents and staff members of LTCFs. Findings from this analysis of facility-wide testing efforts suggest that active testing of residents and staff members can identify some COVID-19 cases early, guide IPC response and reduce the spread of SARS-CoV-2.