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The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services announced an expansion of state assistance and reimbursement to encourage Homes for the Aged to conduct regular COVID-19 testing.

HFAs provide room, board and supervised personal care to 21 or more people ages 55 and older.

The state said it is imperative HFAs provide routine testing to identify infections quickly and contain spread.

As of Sept. 10, 45 ongoing outbreaks and four new outbreaks have been reported at long-term care facilities across the state.

“COVID-19 presents acute risks to older adults, especially in congregate care settings. Robust testing is vital to protect these facilities, and the residents and staff from outbreaks,” MDHHS Director Robert Gordon said. “We encourage all Homes for the Aged to start testing programs to protect residents as quickly as possible if they haven’t already; the state stands ready to help with testing resources and funding.”

The MDHHS is recommending HFAs in regions of medium risk or higher test all residents and staff:

  • One-time baseline testing of all residents and staff.
  • Weekly testing, until all staff and residents are negative for 14 days since the last positive test.
  • At the time of admission for new residents.
  • Before new staff members start work.
  • When having COVID symptoms.
  • After close contact with a COVID-positive individual (within six feet for fifteen minutes or more).

HFAs that conduct COVID-19 testing for residents or staff will be eligible for reimbursement of laboratory costs not covered by insurance or other types of state assistance, the state said.

Copyright 2020 WNEM (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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