TUESDAY, Aug. 4, 2020 (HealthDay News) -- The plan to give every nursing home a fast COVID-19 testing machine has a catch, the Associated Press reported Tuesday. The catch is that under the Trump administration plan, the government will not give kits to check staff and residents more than a couple of times.
The government will supply enough kits to test residents once and staff twice, Adm. Brett Giroir, the Health and Human Services Department's "testing czar," told reporters. Arrangements have been made with manufacturers so nursing homes can order tests for less than they are spending now, Giroir said. Actually providing at least one testing machine to each of the 15,400 nursing homes is still being worked out, but it is a top priority, he added.
Although nursing homes house a small percentage of the population, as many as 40 percent of COVID-19 deaths occur there, the AP said. The cost to test employees could run from $19,000 to nearly $38,000 a week. Nursing homes could cover the cost using a $5 billion fund allocated to the facilities by the White House, the administration said.
The administration hopes to deliver 2,400 fast-test machines and hundreds of thousands of test kits by mid-August, Giroir said. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services said that getting a machine to every nursing home could take 14 weeks, the AP noted.