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Department of Health Announces Additional Partnership to Assist with COVID-19 Response in Nursing Homes

07/09/2020

Harrisburg, PA – Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine today announced a partnership with Eurofins to assist with nursing home facility testing in the COVID-19 response.

“We are so pleased to have this level of collaboration and assistance from Eurofins,” Dr. 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 last 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.”

The Pennsylvania Department of Health and the Pennsylvania Department of Community Economic and Development (DCED) are partnering with Eurofins to assist with testing specimens from skilled nursing facilities statewide at no cost to facilities. This partnership will further facility compliance with Secretary Levine’s universal testing order issued June 9, 2020.

“As Pennsylvania works diligently to combat the spread of COVID-19 across the commonwealth, it is critically important that we have a robust testing and tracing system in place,” said DCED Secretary Dennis Davin. “We rely on our partners in the business community to bolster resources, and it’s the help of partners like Eurofins that will make our testing and tracing infrastructure stronger and more effective.”

Eurofins Central Laboratory, headquartered in Lancaster, Pennsylvania and a member of Eurofins Scientific, a global leader in testing and laboratory services, has joined the COVID-19 Pennsylvania testing program after Secretary Dr. Levine ordered the testing of all nursing home residents and staff in the state, at least once by July 24.

Symptoms of COVID-19 can include:

·       Fever

·       Cough

·       Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing

·       Diarrhea

·       Chills

·       Repeating shaking with chills

·       Muscle pain

·       Headache

·       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 12:00 a.m., July 8, there were 92,148 positive cases of COVID-19 statewide in 67 counties and 6,812 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 businesses in both the yellow and green phases of reopening or in any setting outside the home where social distancing is difficult. Remember: My mask protects you; your mask protects me.

For the latest information for individuals, families, businesses and schools, visit “Responding to COVID-19” on pa.gov.

The Wolf Administration stresses the role Pennsylvanians play in helping to reduce the spread of COVID-19:

  • Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
  • Cover any coughs or sneezes with your elbow, not your hands.
  • Clean surfaces frequently.
  • Stay home to avoid spreading COVID-19, especially if you are unwell.
  • If you must go out for a life-sustaining reason, please wear a mask.

Updated Coronavirus Links: Press Releases, State Lab Photos, Graphics

All Pennsylvania residents are encouraged to sign up for AlertPA, a text notification system for health, weather, and other important alerts like COVID-19 updates from commonwealth agencies. Residents can sign up online at www.ready.pa.gov/BeInformed/Signup-For-Alerts.

MEDIA CONTACT:  Nate Wardle, Health, 717-787-1783 or ra-dhpressoffice@pa.gov

                                  Casey Smith, DCED, 717-783-1132

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