URBANA – All nursing home employees can now get tested for COVID-19, even if they’re not showing symptoms, thanks to the state loosening testing criteria last week to allow all health care and front line workers to qualify.
But Champaign-Urbana Public Health Administrator Julie Pryde says she would like to further expand testing to include residents of nursing homes and long-term care facilities, even those with no confirmed COVID-19 cases.
C-U Public Health has requested the test kits, Pryde says, and will be sending them to the facilities so that residents can get tested on site.
“There will be support teams that come into the facility to help (perform the nasal swabs), if the long-term care facility doesn’t have trained staff to do that already,” Pryde says.
This week, COVID-19 cases were confirmed at two Champaign County nursing homes.
A resident at Clark-Lindsey and an employee at University Rehabilitation Center, both tested positive.
Pryde says all residents and staff at both of those facilities are getting tested for COVID-19 now.
In a news release, Clark-Lindsey’s director of marketing says public health staff have been on site to evaluate procedures at Clark-Lindsey and have no further recommendations for change.
The Meadowbrook Health Center resident is receiving care at a local hospital and it’s unknown when the resident will return. Meadowbrook Health Center is part of Clark-Lindsey’s campus.
Since mid-March, Clark-Lindsey has requested residents not leave the campus except for medically necessary appointments, according to the news release.
University Rehab Owner William Rothner said in an email that the employee who tested positive has not been in the building since they reported having symptoms.
He says the facility is working with state and local health officials to comply with all regulations and updated guidance.
“Our dedicated staff is first and foremost working hard to keep our patients and staff safe, and to keep residents, families, and staff well informed,” Rothner said.
In addition to expanding COVID-19 testing criteria to allow all nursing home employees to get tested, all health care and front line workers, in addition to those who support critical infrastructure, such as grocery stores, restaurants, gas stations and childcare, can also be tested.
Anyone who has had contact with someone diagnosed with COVID-19 or who has a health risk factor is also eligible for testing, as well as any person showing COVID-19 symptoms.
A complete list of testing sites is available on the Illinois Department of Public Health’s website.
Pryde says Champaign County residents should contact their health care provider to inquire about COVID-19 testing.
Anyone who lacks a provider can call CU Public Health’s COVID-19 hotline: (217) 239-7877, which is staffed seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Champaign County also has a COVID-19 website that provides information about the latest COVID-19 information and local resources and support.
Pryde made her comments at an online news briefing focused on topics related to Champaign County’s response to COVID-19, in response to questions from Illinois Newsroom and other media outlets.
If you have a question you would like to ask local officials regarding COVID-19, submit it here.
Follow Christine on Twitter: @CTHerman