Nursing home gets its own rapid COVID-19 testing machines that can return results within hours

PALOS HILLS, Ill. (WLS) -- At the BRIA Health Services network of nursing homes, in-person visits of residents have resumed in outdoor tents after temperature and symptoms checks.

Now, this long term care provider is stepping up its testing.

"We want to know very quickly if any of the staff carry this virus asymptomatically, and that's how it's spread amongst nursing homes," said Dr. David Hines from BRIA COVID-19 Task Force.

The task force was formed following an outbreak in the spring that killed more than two dozen residents at the BRIA facility in west suburban Geneva.

Hines said with current testing, it can take several days to get results from state and commercial labs.

BRIA has procured its own rapid testing machines that can return results within hours.

"Getting our own machines, we have a lot more control, and we can get this done more effectively and efficiently," Hines said.

Nursing home residents make up more than half of COVID-19 deaths in Illinois.

The state has mandated increased testing which along with improved safety protocols, have brought down nursing home deaths.

With cases statewide once again rising, there is concern about more outbreaks at long term care facilities.

BRIA said the key is faster and more frequent testing.

"With this testing mechanism, hopefully they won't get any more cases," Hines said.
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