There are more than 1,000 outstanding COVID-19 tests among Alabama nursing home residents and staff, and many homes are having difficulty getting the tests, according to the Alabama Nursing Home Association.
John Matson, communications director for the Alabama Nursing Home Association, told APR on Friday that the association is asking the Center for Disease Control and Prevention to move nursing up from Priority 2 to Priority 1 for COVID-19 testing.
Currently, the CDC only classifies hospitalized patients and symptomatic healthcare workers as Priority 1.
“We want to be moved up that priority list,” Matson said. ”We feel like we’re caring for the most vulnerable population to COVID-19.”
Matson said moving nursing homes up a level would both increase access to tests and speed up processing time to get results.
Beyond the CDC classification matter, there’s also likely a lack of test availability in general across the state. Matson said.
“I can’t speak to hard numbers on availability, but it’s phone call after phone call from our member saying we’re having trouble getting tests here,” Matson said.
There have been at least eight confirmed cases of COVID-19 in six Alabama nursing homes across the state.