Governor Tom Wolf has officially issued a “Universal Testing Order” today, which requires all citizens and staff at nursing homes to go through a COVID-19 test at least once before July 24. Universal testing for COVID-19 already began from May 11 to May 26 in five long term care facilities, according to the state Department of Health.

The following sections are required to go into COVID-19 tests: nursing facilities, personal care homes, assisted living residences, community residential rehabilitation services, long-term structured residences, residential treatment facilities for adults, and intermediate care facilities.

State officials said in a news release that “The department is also working closely with additional facilities to implement universal testing by providing testing supplies, access to the Bureau of Laboratories and staffing support through the National Guard to train and assist with swabbing.

Thus far, over 75 LTCFs completed widespread testing, and the number of tests in LTCFs has increased 48 percent over the last two weeks, bringing the percent of positive cases in this population to its lowest level since the start of the outbreak.”

State officials have also mentioned in a news release the following efforts that the Wolf Administration and the state Department of Health have done so far to stop the spread of the coronavirus in nursing homes:

  • Pushed out more than 1,870 shipments of personal protection equipment to date, which has included 167,674 gowns, 131,700 face shields, 792,000 gloves, 2,632,280 N95s masks and 881,700 surgical masks.
  • Deployed 55 Pennsylvania National Guard Strike Teams to 27 long-term care facilities.
  • Responded to 100 percent of outbreaks, defined as one or more confirmed positive case among staff or residents, in those facilities.
  • Provided advice and consultation on infection control and outbreak response to facilities and, where needed, collaborated, partnered and received report from local, state, and federal resources, along with contracted support from ECRI.

Stay Safe, Pennsylvania!