Tennessee’s 700 long-term care facilities are well short of a goal to test all residents and employees for COVID-19 before the end of the month.
The question if patients and employees have been COVID-19 tested was left on a phone message to Douglas Wong, administrator at NHC Pulaski and Meadowbrook Nursing Home Admistrator Nikki Ridner, but calls were not returned.
The governor last month announced the sweeping initiative to, by the end of May, conduct or schedule testing at all of the state’s long-term care facilities, which account for nearly half of Tennessee’s deaths from the virus.
Department of Health Commissioner Lisa Piercey told members of the Tennessee General Assembly about 200, or 29%, of the state’s long-term care facilities have either completed or scheduled COVID-19 testing.
On May 1st, the Lee administration sent a letter to nursing home administrators, stressing the need for widespread testing.
Piercey stressed the importance of testing at long-term care facilities, which she said was necessary in order to move to the next phase of opening buildings to visitors.
She said reopening long-term care facilities to visitors could not happen before the state knows the status of residents and staff.
Overall, Piercey estimated about half of Tennessee’s COVID-19 deaths have taken place in a long-term care facility.