Staff in New York nursing homes will now be tested twice a week for COVID-19 under new guidelines announced over the weekend by Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
Clinton County officials say they’re in good shape to follow the new rules and that there’s enough tests available for at klest the next few weeks. City of Plattsburgh Mayor Colin Read said the city’s health department state is now working with the state to expand the new testing requirements to all residents of the facilities.
A third of all COVID-19 related deaths across the nation have been nursing home residents or their staff. Read said it’s been the region’s top concern from the start.
“It’s an acute need that we struggled with addressing really early on in March, well before it had really come to the attention of the governor’s office,” Mayor Read said.
Cuomo also said hospitals can no longer discharge patients to other facilities unless they test negative for the virus. Two senior housing buildings in Plattsburgh were placed under mandatory quarantine orders in April to prevent further spread.
“It may be a big problem for a pocket like ours,” Read said. “If you need nursing home facilities, you’re coming from quite a large geographical area for that service.”
In Essex County, Director of Public Health Linda Beers confirmed they received their first shipment of test kits from the state. In a statement she said, “Testing residents and staff will provide the information we need to keep this population safe by quickly identifying, isolating, and tracing contacts of any positive cases.”