WV MetroNews Slemp details “encouraging” results of statewide nursing home testing

Jake Flatley

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Further results are in for the statewide testing of COVID-19 for all nursing home residents and staff and health officials are encouraged.

State chief health officer Cathy Slemp discussed the numbers for testing that was done under Gov. Jim Justice’s executive order for those facilities following outbreaks at four in West Virginia.

During Tuesday’s COVID-19 press briefing with the governor, Slemp said COVID-19 had neither previously been found nor was found at 71 percent of the state’s nursing homes during the testing.

In total, more than 9,000 residents and 14,000 staff members were tested across 123 nursing homes. 42 new positive cases were reported.

Cathy Slemp

“What we found with this testing was that 23 percent of our facilities, 28 facilities overall, were newly identified as having at least one individual positive for COVID-19,” Slemp said.

“20 of the 28 showed the newly identified case was a single positive individual either staff or resident. The vast majority of where we found it new, it was a single positive resident or staff person.”

Thirty-one staff members and 11 residents make up the new cases. Slemp said the positive test rate for new cases equaled 0.18 percent (0.12 residents and 0.23 staff).

One-third of the new cases had a link with another positive case, most typically not associated with the facility, Slemp said.

VIEW: Long-term care facility COVID-19 numbers

West Virginia Health Care Association’s CEO, Marty Wright said in a release: “We are very encouraged by the nursing home test results that were announced today. Though the results only provide a snapshot of the COVID-19 impact on our nursing homes, the results certainly demonstrate that the aggressive proactive measures implemented by nursing homes have proven effective.”

Marty Wright

“As reflected in the results, only 0.18% of nursing home residents and employees tested (42 individuals of nearly 24,000 tested) were found to be new positive cases for the virus. Most of the individuals that tested positive were asymptomatic.”

Wright said he fully recognizes that these results do not indicate a victory and that the state must remain vigilant in efforts to protect nursing home residents and staff.

“Nevertheless, our frontline healthcare workers are to be celebrated for their successes in the war they continue to wage against this formidable virus,” he said.

As of Tuesday afternoon, the state Department of Health and Human Resources (DHHR) reported 68 positive patient cases at the Eldercare facility in Ripley, 39 at Sundale Nursing Home in Morgantown, 30 at the Wayne Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Wayne, 19 at Eastbrook Center in Kanawha County, and 14 at Riverside Health and Rehabilitation Center in Kanawha County.

Thirteen total positive cases have been found at 11 other nursing homes in the state.

The DHHR is in the middle of a review of the activity and procedures at the Eldercare facility where the department and the Office of Health Facility Licensure and Certification (OHFLAC) completed a survey while visiting. The facility has been sent a report detailing findings.

A DHHR spokesperson said once an acceptable plan of correction has been received by OHFLAC, a revisit will be completed by OHFLAC to confirm compliance. Once this activity is completed the report will be publicly available and online at OHFLAC.wvdhhr.org.

Additional testing

Bill Crouch

State DHHR Secretary Bill Crouch announced Tuesday 67 of 94 licensed Assisted Living facilities in West Virginia have completed COVID-19 testing.

He said 2,803 residents and staff members have been tested with 1,818 negative tests and 980 tests pending. Crouch said there has yet to be a confirmed case.

Crouch also said 1,440 child care staff members have been tested in recent weeks. He said 723 tests results have been returned, 720 of them came back negative.


Jake Flatley

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