Dr. Levine announces new testing strategy for nursing homes day after calls for her resignation

Coronavirus

HARRISBURG, Pa, (WHTM) — Department of Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine announced a “new robust universal testing strategy” for all staff and residents in nursing home facilities.

The effort aims to mitigate the extensive spread of COVID-19 in nursing home facilities.

This announcement comes just a day after Republican State Senator Doug Mastriano held a rally at the capitol steps Monday morning, calling for the resignation of Health Secretary, Dr. Rachel Levine.

Mastriano sent a letter to Governor Wolf, highlighting many concerns “regarding the gross incompetence” of Levine, and requesting her resignation.

According to Levine, the new testing strategy focuses on making testing available and adaptable to the evolving landscape of the virus.

According to the new strategy, all patients that are hospitalized must be tested for COVID-19 at the hospital before returning to the nursing homes if they are hospitalized.

“This will provide valuable information to the facility to ensure they take the proper precautions to stop the spread of COVID-19 and to monitor their condition to ensure they have the care they need,” said Levine.

A health alert network advisory has been sent out to nursing home facilities in Pennsylvania on Tuesday. The health alert network outlines the new strategy and explains when and how to restest residents. The alert also outlines how nursing homes are able to manage residents through cohorting, according to Dr. Levine.

The department of health says they will accomplish all this by using test swabs provided by the federal government for the facilities short on supplies.

For facilities unable to do the testing on their own, The Pennsylvania National Guard is providing a mobile testing option.

“Today I am also ordering nursing homes to report deaths, cases and tests performed using the same system hospitals are currently using. They will be required to report beginning May 17, and this information will be reported publicly through public conferences and on our website,” said Dr. Levine.

This effort, according to Levine, will give Pennsylvania a clearer picture of the extensive outbreak in nursing homes and a head start at stopping the spread.

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