Concerns about nursing home employee testing in the Twin Tiers


(WETM-TV) ⁠— Nursing homes in New York are a hot spot for positive COVID-19 cases. To keep some of the most vulnerable populating safe, a state mandate was sent from Governor Andrew Cuomo last week that requires nursing homes and adult care facilities employees to be tested twice a week.

Monday morning, the Chemung County Nursing Facility received 540 testing kits for their staff. It’s still unknown if the nursing facility will continue receiving these kits each week or if it was a one-time delivery.

With Governor Cuomo’s testing mandate, county officials are now wondering who will be in charge of processing all these tests.

“We still aren’t clear as to once we’ve acquired the samples,” said Christopher Moss, Chemung County Executive. “According to our region, they go to Quest laboratories. So we’re trying to communicate with them to see if they’ll take them- when they can take them, and so forth.”

Roughly 1,200 nursing home and adult care staff work in Steuben County. This means 2,400 tests will be needed each week. The mandate not only affects nursing homes but according to Steuben County Manager Jack Wheeler, but this has added stress onto the eight adult care facilities in the area.

“At least the nursing homes have medical professionals that very likely can conduct the testing, or they have more experience in that,” said Wheeler. “The ones that we are hearing from are the adult care facilities that are scrambling trying to figure out how to do this, how to pay for it, it’s a challenge.”

Since March, 3,700 tests have been performed in Steuben County. Wheeler says that testing the nursing homes and adult care facilities under this mandate would be roughly 2,400 tests per week.

“That’s a significant number obviously, that’s almost, two months worth of testing that we have done here in a week’s time,” Wheeler said. “Again, proactive testing in nursing homes is a great thing, so no one is disputing that what we are just concerned about is lab capacity.”

Wheeler says that the private labs that the county has used to process the test will not be accepting any more because they are reaching capacity. And the state’s testing lab in Wadsworth has been telling counties that there is going to be significant delays in lab testing.

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