HARRISBURG – Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine on Wednesday announced a partnership with CVS Health to assist with nursing home facility testing as part of the state’s COVID-19 response.
The Pennsylvania Department of Health and Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency (PEMA) are partnering with CVS Health to offer COVID-19 testing services to skilled nursing facilities statewide, free of charge.
This is in order to make sure facilities are compliant with Levine’s universal testing order issued June 9, 2020.
“We are so pleased to have this level of collaboration and assistance from CVS Health,” Levine said.
“COVID-19 is a particularly challenging situation for congregate settings, particularly our nursing home facilities.
“This partnership strengthens and increases access to ensure universal testing is completed in nursing homes, as required in the order issued earlier this month.
“It will provide us the opportunity to better address outbreaks and work to prevent future outbreaks in nursing home facilities.
“These teams are assisting us in our response in the hardest-hit areas as we work to protect the public health and safety of Pennsylvanians.”
Omnicare, a CVS Health company, will administer up to 50,000 tests for skilled nursing residents and staff members beginning the week of June 29.
The department will roll out a three-tiered priority list for testing beginning with facilities with new or ongoing outbreaks, then to facilities with a history of a resolved outbreak and finishing with facilities with no outbreaks.
“At Omnicare, we are dedicated to providing outstanding service to our long-term care customers and their patients. Our COVID-19 testing solutions are a prime example of our capabilities, and a critical component of our broader response to the pandemic,” said Jim Love, president of Omnicare.
“We are pleased to partner with the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to increase access and availability to testing for these critically important long-term care facilities and their vulnerable patient populations.”
Through the work of a number of entities, testing is accessible for Pennsylvanians through a variety of locations.
Adding CVS Health, Patient First, Rite Aid, Wal-Mart and other testing sites for symptomatic and asymptomatic individuals through select retail locations across the state has further allowed for Pennsylvanians to get tested close to home.
Adding these locations to those already offered by hospitals, health systems, Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs), health clinics and other locations significantly expands the testing network in the state.
More information about Pennsylvania’s testing sites, including a map of the sites available in Pennsylvania, is listed on the department’s Web site.
The department’s testing plan has remained adaptable. This includes the efforts to ensure everyone in a long-term care facility can be tested, work to ensure counties that currently do not have testing locations can receive them, and other efforts based on the latest data and science surrounding COVID-19.
Symptoms of COVID-19 can include:
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Repeating shaking with chills
- Muscle pain
- Sore throat
- New loss of taste or smell
Symptoms may appear in as few as two days or as long as 14 days after exposure. Reported illnesses have ranged from people with little to no symptoms to people being severely ill and dying.
As of 12 a.m., June 24, there were 83,191 positive cases of COVID-19 statewide in 67 counties and 6,518 confirmed deaths. Most of the patients hospitalized are 65 or older, and most of the deaths have occurred in patients 65 and older. More data is available here.
Pennsylvanians are reminded that mask-wearing is required when visiting businesses in both the yellow and green phases of reopening or in any setting outside the home where social distancing is difficult.
For the latest information for individuals, families, businesses and schools, visit “Responding to COVID-19” on pa.gov.