LAUDERDALE COUNTY, Ala. (WAFF) - Rapid test machines are already getting sent to nursing homes around North Alabama.
That’s how two nursing homes in Lauderdale County are staying one step ahead and keeping residents safe.
Lauderdale Christian Nursing Home resident Ruth Thompson said not being able to see her family or be with them as often has been one of the hardest parts of COVID-19.
Fortunately, the Alabama Nursing Home Association is now encouraging outdoor visits, if they can be done safely, with masks and socially distanced.
But Thompson is excited nonetheless. Detecting the virus quickly is essential so visits can keep happening. That’s where rapid testing comes in.
Brian Scheri with Mitchell-Hollingsworth nursing home in Florence says they received one last week.
“The point of care quick tests, the POC, will be using for people who are sick, people who are symptomatic to get a gage, yeah they’re probably positive and that will be backed up with a regular test,” Scheri said.
That’s because they are proven to be less accurate than the traditional nasal swab test. But Scheri says it’s still helpful to have on hand.
“If it ever gets to the point where we have to do testing more often than we are, the old fashioned way, we just wouldn’t have enough. There wouldn’t be enough time in a week,” he explained.
The Lauderdale-Christian Nursing home also has one ready.
“We actually got ours a littler quicker than I thought,” Annette Parker said.
Like Scheri, office manager Annette Parker says they’ll only use it if a resident or staff member is sick, so luckily they haven’t had a chance yet.
“We discussed that if we had an employee who felt like they were sick and couldn’t go to work, we could do that rapid testing to see if they were positive or negative,” Parker said.
Parker says they hope to begin outdoor visits soon.