New law makes COVID-19 testing mandatory in Illinois nursing homes

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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WTVO) — Under an emergency rule filed Thursday by the Illinois Department of Public Health, nursing homes who don’t implement COVID-19 testing at their facilities can face fines or have their licenses revoked.

IDPH is requiring every long-term care facility in Illinois to test all residents and staff for COVID-19 as recommended by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Each facility will collect specimens and arrange with a laboratory to have them tested.

IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike said Thursday that 44% of all Illinois coronavirus fatalities have occurred in nursing homes.

“Nursing home residents are at higher risk for infection, serious illness, and death from COVID-19,” said Ezike. “Testing residents and health care staff is important to help keep COVID-19 out of facilities if the virus is not there, detect cases quickly – especially among individuals who are asymptomatic, and stop transmission. While many facilities are working with IDPH and their local health departments to help keep residents safe, we cannot rely on voluntary compliance alone, and this additional regulatory authority will help ensure swift action.”

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