Voluntary COVID-19 Testing Fails Nursing Home Residents

covid-19 testing nursing home residents

Illinois Department of Public Health Says all Illinois Long-Term Care Facilities Must Test For COVID-19

On Thursday, May 28, the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) announced a filling of emergency rules for long-term care facilities in response to the continuous spread of COVID-19 and related outbreaks. The mandates say these facilities “must comply with infection control practices, including testing all residents and staff for COVID-19.”

In addition, each facility will now be required to:

  • develop and implement a testing plan to better protect vulnerable residents
  • collect specimens and arrange with a laboratory to have them tested
  • make sure a copy of the facility’s infection control policies and procedures is provided to residents, and to the resident’s family or representative, along with IDPH or local health departments, upon request
  • report to public health officials the number of residents and staff tested, and the number of positive, negative, and indeterminate test results
  • test as recommended by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated on May 19

IDPH says they will perform targeted infection control surveys to ensure compliance, provide training and assistance with testing if needed, and help identify laboratory services and provide additional testing kits to long-term care facilities that choose to work with IDPH to implement their testing plan. So far, IDPH laboratories are reporting to have provided an estimated 45,000 testing kits to 170 long term care facilities in Illinois in addition to a partnership with Quest Laboratories’ distribution of 8,500 testing kits.

See the emergency rule here: https://www.dph.illinois.gov/covid19/governor-pritzkers-executive-orders-and-rules.

IDPH Directors Says Voluntary Infectious Disease Control of COVID-19 Isn’t Working

In a news release, IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike said, “Nursing home residents are at higher risk for infection, serious illness, and death from COVID. Testing residents and health care staff is important to help keep COVID-19 out of facilities if the virus is not there, detect cases quickly – especially among individuals who are asymptomatic, and stop transmission.”

On the day of the emergency rule announcement, IDPH reported 115,833 cases, including 5,186 deaths, in 100 counties in Illinois. The age of cases ranges from younger than one to older than 100 years. Total laboratory confirmed COVID-19 cases among long-term care facilities have nearly reached 15,000 in Illinois and caused 2,402 deaths.

“While many facilities are working with IDPH and their local health departments to help keep residents safe, we cannot rely on voluntary compliance alone, and this additional regulatory authority will help ensure swift action,” Dr. Ngozi Ezike continued to say.

Levin & Perconti nursing home attorneys are currently investigating over 100 complaints involving long-term care facilities in Illinois that have failed to uphold adequate safeguards and responsibility related to infectious diseases. If you know of a facility that is not testing residents or staff for COVID-19, or following state and federal rules to prevent the spread of COVID-19, we want to help.

Levin & Perconti: Chicago Nursing Home Negligence Lawyers

If you suspect elder neglect or abuse of any kind related to COVID-19 challenges or know of a facility in noncompliance of these rules that has put your loved one at risk of infectious disease and related dangers, please contact us for a free consultation with one of our Chicago nursing home abuse and neglect attorneys at 312-332-2872 or toll-free at 877-374-1417.

Also read: Ambassador Nursing & Rehab Center: COVID-19 Summary


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