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Nursing homes in the Ozarks concerned about shortage of rapid COVID-19 testing

Nursing homes in the Ozarks concerned about shortage of rapid COVID-19 testing

LOWRY CITY, Mo. (KY3) — Nursing homes in the Ozarks are concerned about future COVID-19 outbreaks.

The shortage of rapid test kits is a big factor. The state has still not received a new delivery from the manufacturer, Abbott.

Leaders of Truman Lake Manor in Lowry City said rapid tests were one of their main lines of defense, but now the house is concerned about cases surfacing after months without residents sick.

“I think it’s only a matter of time before we have a COVID-positive resident,” said Tim Corbin, manager of Truman Lake Manor. “I think now it will finally happen.”

There have been a few exposures at Truman Lake Manor lately, but lab test results show no one living there has COVID yet.

“We already have visitors and people who have been in the building calling us back and saying, ‘Hey, I was just diagnosed with COVID and I was there yesterday,’” Corbin said. “At this point, we had tested all our residents. We currently have no residents who have COVID.”

Corbin said there have been no COVID-positive residents for a while, something he is proud of.

“Not a single resident has had COVID in 13 months,” Corbin said.

He said that in November 2020 the house was dealing with a very different story. A devastating outbreak struck his institution.

“It’s been our one and only outbreak of COVID that has hit the house pretty deeply,” Corbin said. “We had almost 18 deaths.”

Truman Lake Manor immediately added extra strict policies and procedures. The nursing home began testing visitors and staff on a daily basis.

“It was our number one frontier against the disease,” Corbin said. “It kept it where you felt inside that even though we were wearing a mask, and we were all doing this according to state and federal guidelines, we felt that everyone here was clean. They had been tested. At least at that point they could safely handle it.” work. Our residents were not exposed to unnecessary exposure.”

But this week, the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services announced it had to temporarily suspend all reorders of rapid antigen tests.

“We’ve seen a shortage there in recent weeks,” DHSS spokesman Lisa Cox told KY3 earlier this week. “Really since the White House announced they would provide antigen testing on a federal basis sometime in January.”

The demand for tests has also increased as cases have risen again.

“We’re looking at all options,” Cox said. “We’re looking at any company that has some availability, but there’s really a shortage on the manufacturer side right now.”

Tim Corbin said he should now only keep rapid tests for symptomatic people. He said he is concerned that Truman Lake Manor has lost one of its best lines of defense.

“You are now walking blindfolded into a minefield,” he described. “We used to have at least a certain level of protection. At the door-by-testing, everyone we knew came in, whether or not they were safe or our best guess. ”

He still has PCR tests and other nursing homes can order those as well, but the results take about 48 hours.

“If you have a positive person, an employee or a visitor, you tested them and sent the test,” Corbin described. “But two days later, after they’ve been in the building, you find out that they were positive afterwards. It’s like closing the barn door after the fire.”

At the moment, the state says it’s unclear when supplies will return and when ordering can resume.

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