A new study suggests that testing every assisted living and nursing home resident and staff member for COVID-19 just once across Florida could cost $43 million dollars.
The study, conducted by the American Health Care Association and the National Center for Assisted Living, predicts that for the entire country it would be over $672 million dollars to test every assisted living and nursing home resident and staff member just once.
Florida has 701 nursing homes and 3,405 assisted living communities each with over 70,000 residents, according to the study. It also states that nursing homes have over 95,000 staff members while assisted living communities have just over 35,000 staff members.Florida is the second most expensive state to test every single staff and resident of assisted living and nursing homes in the country after California which would cost over $68 million.
Since the coronavirus has disproportionately impacted the elderly population the most, the positivity rate and the death toll among this age bracket are relatively high across the country.
In Florida, there have been over 1,600 combined residents in nursing homes and assisted living facilities that have tested positive for COVID-19 and over 2,100 staff members have also tested positive, according to a Florida Health Department report.
In Orange County alone, there have been five coronavirus related deaths among nursing home and assisted living facility residents and staff, according to the Florida Health Department.
The American Association for Retired Persons predicts that states are underreporting positive cases due to a lack of testing in facilities.
"Unfortunately, shortages of testing and PPE continue to be a challenge nationwide and because assisted living communities are not medical facilities, they have not been prioritized for testing or supplies,” Tittle said.This comes after news that the CDC declared that antibody tests are positive only half of the time and while the study conducted was based on COVID-19 diagnostics tests, not antibody tests, it raises questions for testing accuracies.
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