In a major milestone for Gov. Kate Brown’s plan to protect seniors from coronavirus infections, each worker and consenting resident in Oregon’s 683 care homes has now been tested for the disease at least once, state officials said Tuesday.
More than 61,000 people work and live in Oregon’s nursing, assisted living and memory care homes. The state agency overseeing senior care does not yet know the results of all the tests, but of the results it does have, 2.2% were positive, the Department of Human Services said. The agency did not say how many test results it has.
The broad testing push is part of Oregon’s plan to help re-open the state’s nursing, assisted living and memory care facilities to visitors without risking further outbreaks.
“We are one step closer to finding a way to strike the balance between keeping our long-term care facilities free of COVID-19,” Brown said in a statement, “and making sure residents are able to have the family time that is so critical to their well-being and health.”
The onus was originally on facilities to find and pay for testing. The state then started to look for contractors to do some of the work in July and also promised to reimburse the cost.
In the next phase, all 683 facilities in Oregon will have to test each worker at least once a month.
Senior care homes have continued to report coronavirus cases, among the most recent being Fernhill Estates, a Portland nursing home, which was ordered to stop accepting new residents Tuesday. Nearly 90 other facilities have at least one coronavirus case, according to state records.
Nearly 290 senior care residents have died after contracting the coronavirus since the pandemic started, accounting for half of the state’s 581 coronavirus deaths.
Data expert David Cansler contributed to this report.
— Fedor Zarkhin
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