President Trump on Monday recommended that states test all nursing home residents and staff over the next two weeks. Last Thursday, the Governor unveiled a five-point plan to support Minnesota’s long-term care facilities, the people they serve, and their caregivers. The plan aims to bolster significant work already done by PioneerCare and the rest of the state’s care providers.
The approach includes:
- Expanded testing for residents and workers
- Creating strike teams to provide testing support
- Providing additional personal protective equipment to facilities
- Ensuring adequate staffing levels at all facilities
- Partnering with local public health to coordinate support
Yesterday, PioneerCare staff participated in a webinar hosted by Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) to learn more. So far, ten senior care providers have been identified by MDH to test all residents and employees of their facilities each day. Next Thursday, that goal will increase to 20 per day. The tests will be prioritized for settings where COVID-19 has been reported. To-date, no one has tested positive at Pioneer. PioneerCare leadership will review the information now available and determine testing plans.
FEMA is coordinating shipments of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), totaling a 14-day supply, to Medicare- and Medicaid-certified nursing homes across the U.S. Each nursing home will receive two shipments, each containing a seven-day supply of eye protection, surgical masks, level 1 medical gowns and gloves. Depending on the length and number of people infected, PioneerCare already has secured supplies to manage a potential outbreak here. However, a shipment from FEMA will enhance PioneerCare’s readiness.
The State Healthcare Coordination Center (SHCC) identified healthcare workers throughout the state who are interested in working in long-term care settings. The state is also using a new workforce software system to connect long-term care settings with potential healthcare workers to assist in meeting immediate staffing needs (less than 48 hours).
Since the Coronavirus was recognized as a potential local threat, PioneerCare has been implementing policies and procedures recommended by Federal and State health agencies and has been participating and collaborating with Otter Tail County Public Health and other local healthcare partners.
More information on the State’s five-point response and support for Minnesota’s care facilities is available here.