Governor Larry Hogan issued an executive order Wednesday requiring universal testing for all residents and staff at all nursing homes in Maryland.
The governor is mandating testing for residents and staff, regardless of whether they show symptoms.
You can read more on the governor’s executive order here.
To date, there’s been nearly 1,000 deaths in Maryland related to COVID-19. Almost half of them have been people who have died in specialized facilities, including nursing homes.
The executive order is a move that’s providing comfort for Susan Liverman, whose mom is a resident at Keswick Multi-Care Center in Baltimore.
“It’s a huge weight lifted off my shoulders,” she said.
The nursing home where Liverman’s 85-year-old mother is staying confirmed a COVID-19 outbreak in its facility two weeks ago.
A spokesperson told WMAR in a statement that three of its residents have died from COVID-19. There have also been eight others, including staff, who tested positive.
“It’s horrible to not be able to see her, hug her and to be constantly worried about if she’s going to get this,” she said.
Liverman said one of the positive cases lived on the same floor with her mom, but since she didn’t have any symptoms; she was never tested.
She says the staff at the nursing home has been amazing at caring for her mom, but she was concerned her mom could have been potentially exposed to the virus.
"They're doing a phenomenal job, but without enough testing they can't catch as many cases maybe as they would because people don't show symptoms right away," she said.
She says she's hoping with the governor's latest actions her mom will get tested. Liverman says it will help give her the sense of peace she desperately needs.
“I’m so glad about what the governor did with the tests and that he is prioritizing are elders because a lot of them just have no voice," she said. "And a lot of the workers there are risking their lives to go in and take care of our parents and grandparents. They need to be armed with every single thing they can have.”
In a statement, a Keswick spokesperson said the nursing home "has followed all procedures recommended by public health officials and we will continue to do so, including the governor’s new executive order requiring that all residents and staff members at Maryland nursing homes be tested for the coronavirus."
The spokesperson also said, "we are now awaiting further testing instructions from the health department."
Keswick Multi-Care Center full statement:
We appreciate Governor Hogan’s leadership and continued action to address the spread of COVID-19 in Maryland, particularly among our vulnerable populations like frail seniors residing in nursing homes. Keswick has followed all procedures recommended by public health officials and we will continue to do so, including the governor’s new executive order requiring that all residents and staff members at Maryland nursing homes be tested for the coronavirus.
As stated in the order, facilities will be prioritized based on an “imminent outbreak or a current rising threat risk.” We are now awaiting further testing instructions from the health department.
Keswick has not had any new cases of COVID-19 since April 15, 2020. Prior to that date, eight residents and three staff members received positive tests. Residents who test positive are carefully isolated in a separate unit with dedicated staff to prevent infection of staff or additional patients, while COVID-19-positive staff are required to quarantine at home for 14 days or until released by their physician. All rooms at Keswick are single occupancy which has ensured residents are safely distanced.
We continue to take all precautions to keep the risk of infection as low as possible for residents and staff. Keswick implemented a No Visitor policy for the campus and a strict infectious control plan has been in place for the protection of the entire campus community since March. Those restrictions remain in place, allowing only essential staff and essential care providers and vendors to enter the facility and only direct patient care staff on resident floors.
Additionally, all staff are already screened daily, including temperature checks, and all residents have their temperature taken and recorded three (3) times per day. Lastly, we have been in regular communication with all families and have a hotline set up for family questions.