By: KDKA-TV News Staff
HARRISBURG (KDKA) – More than 1,300 long-term care facilities have finished universal baseline coronavirus testing by the state’s Aug. 31 deadline. Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine said Tuesday that this testing has revealed asymptomatic workers who are bringing the virus into these facilities.
Back in June, Dr. Levine ordered personal care homes, assisted living residences and private intermediate care facilities to test all residents and staff by the end of August.
Universal testing allows us to see a full picture of #COVID19 among some of our most vulnerable Pennsylvanians. We're pleased by the work done by the facilities and our partners to complete this. https://t.co/pnbCRXBgZf
— Dr. Rachel Levine (@SecretaryLevine) September 1, 2020
Now that baseline tests have been completed, Dr. Levine says health officials have learned how the virus got into long-term care facilities.
“It is asymptomatic individuals — asymptomatic staff — who are courageous and brave to be working in those facilities helping the most vulnerable among us who unwittingly bring the virus into the facility. They have no symptoms, but through the universal screening testing we have detected staff that are positive.”
Dr. Levine says going forward, health officials are going to be monitoring employees and working to prevent bringing COVID-19 back into facilities.
Out of the state’s nearly 7,700 coronavirus deaths, 5,192 have been in long-term care facilities. In those facilities, 21,074 residents and 4,510 employees have tested positive for coronavirus.