Universal Testing

Angie Szumlinski Studies

In a study conducted in 11 nursing homes in Maryland, universal testing was initiated after the centers had previously conducted symptom-based testing. 354 positive cases (39.6% of those tested) were identified through universal testing despite initial targeted, symptom-based testing.

According to data from the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the overall case-fatality among residents of long-term care facilities is about 33%. The short-term mortality rate found in the present study among residents who underwent universal testing was much lower, suggesting that true COVID-associated mortality rates in long-term care facilities may be lowered by increased testing and case detection.

Long-term care facilities have emerged as “hot spots” for SARS-CoV-2 infection and mortality globally. Using symptom-based testing alone to identify positive residents is not adequate to assess case burden and inform outbreak-control efforts in these settings. This information may be invaluable to those of us fighting the battle on the front lines. Talk to your physicians, and determine what works best for your center. It might make the difference in the lives of many of your residents!

Stay the course, stay well, mask up, and stay tuned!