Thursday, June 4, 2020
All JAA residential communities remain COVID-free.
In its newest guidance for Long-Term-Care facilities, the PA Department of Health also suggests that random sample testing occur regularly.
JAA is now in the testing phase of our precautionary safety protocol. As with other COVID screening processes at JAA, testing occurs NOT because of an actual outbreak of the virus but to assure we remain virus-free.
Random sample testing is not mandatory and resources to regularly test everyone in long-term care are not yet available. JAA is working tirelessly to access those resources and, in the immediate, is taking steps to begin a pilot testing program.
The purpose of COVID testing at JAA for people without symptoms is becoming more common. Half of virus carriers show no symptoms (a.k.a. they are asymptomatic). JAA staff could be asymptomatic, carrying the virus, and unknowingly infect residents, fellow workers, or family members. Having a baseline and knowledge of anyone who is asymptomatic at JAA will help determine additional safety protocol now and in the future.
In accordance with DOH prioritization, we began testing employees of Charles Morris first, as they have the highest potential to become carriers of the virus and could impact our most vulnerable residents. Of the 28 staff members who were tested last week, as of noon on June 4, 25 have come back negative. We await the results of the other three with confidence they too will be negative.
Limited testing continues onsite at JAA on Friday, June 5 (9 AM-Noon).
This Friday, June 5, as part of our pilot and along with direct care staff, we will begin to test certain residents, starting with those in our residential memory care programs, as they are unable to adhere to social distancing and other infection control guidelines.
JAA is collaborating with Squirrel Hill Health Center on this pilot to test a limited number of care staff and memory care residents using easily administered, oral cheek swabs.
JAA supports the Department of Health’s testing recommendations as we concur testing is necessary to stay ahead of the virus and keep it out of our communities.