RALEIGH, N.C. (WECT) - The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) and Omnicare, a CVS Health company, will make facility-wide coronavirus testing available to residents and staff beginning in July 2020.
The NCDHHS already recommends testing all staff and residents in nursing homes that have at least one case of COVID-19; however, this initiative makes testing available to approximately 36,000 residents and more than 30,000 staff in over 400 nursing homes in the state.
“Building on North Carolina’s early and aggressive actions to protect residents who live in long-term care settings, DHHS will pay for proactive testing of staff and residents in all nursing homes to slow the spread of COVID-19,” said NCDHHS Secretary Mandy Cohen, M.D.
Testing all residents and staff will create a baseline to help staff identify positive cases and implement additional infection control measures earlier to control the spread.
“With our expert understanding of the long-term care industry, we are deploying solutions to help these critically important health care facilities address their most significant challenges arising from the pandemic,” said Jim Love, president of Omnicare.
The cost of testing will be billed to medical insurance companies where possible and the NCDHHS will cover any additional costs.
Since the start of the pandemic, North Carolina has implemented several measures to protect residents and staff in long-term facilities including distribution of PPE, provision of infection control assessment tool kits and virtual training, targeted funding for intensive care of residents and assistance with temporary regulatory changes.
Further guidance for long-term care facilities can be found here.