One of the primary ways that health experts recommended that the coronavirus pandemic could be contained was through regular, widespread testing.
The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control began the process to test every single resident and staff member in the state’s nursing homes.
Homes will be forced to test constantly to detect new cases
The testing program is part of the department’s larger effort to administer as many coronavirus tests in the state as realistically possible. Priority will be given to those most at risk, which includes elderly people and those with underlying health conditions who are staying at the state’s nursing homes. The department was concerned that both staff members and residents in South Carolina facilities could face severe health complications if infected.
The testing will be done in phases, and administrators of the program hope to test all 40,000 residents and staff members in South Carolina’s 194 total nursing homes. The first phase alone includes about 15,000 people who work and live in 74 homes. Some of these facilities were given priority due to high risk, while others had volunteered for the program’s early stages. All of the planned tests for the entire state were expected to be finished in just about a month.
The department believes that outbreaks at nursing homes are some of the worst and most troubling indicators of a strong community spread. That is why it is so important to test individuals who come into contact with those working in the facilities regularly. They will also be giving guidance on managing and preventing infections. There has been constant dialogue between the facilities and the department as the pandemic progressed to control and possible outbreak scenarios. Asymptomatic transmissions are particularly difficult to manage, as these people display few or no symptoms, and they are usually unaware that they are carriers.
Other measures related to isolating infected individuals, and tracing all others they may have been in close contact with in the days before an infection have also been implemented.
Making sure a nursing home does not breach its duty of care
A nursing home has a legal obligation to keep people under its care safe. When they fail to take adequate precautions to prevent the spread of illnesses, there may be serious consequences, including death. The home can be sued for monetary damages if this happens.
Get help from a nursing home abuse attorney in your area
There are lawyers in the Columbia area who focus on assisting clients who have had a family member become seriously ill or die while under the care of a nursing home. To learn more about bringing a civil case against a facility, contact:
1116 Blanding St., #3A, Columbia, SC 29201