SALEM, Ore. (AP) — Gov. Kate Brown announced Tuesday the state is working to implement a plan to test all staff and residents at long-term care facilities for coronavirus.
Testing will start at care centers at the highest risk of having an outbreak. Most of those facilities are in Multnomah, Washington, Clackamas, Yamhill, Marion and Polk counties, according to the governor’s office.
“From the beginning of this pandemic, it has been one of my top priorities to protect the residents and staff of long-term care facilities,” Brown said in a statement.
Care centers in Oregon have been hit with outbreaks throughout the pandemic. As of Tuesday, out of the state’s 688 large long term-care facilities 16 currently have confirmed coronavirus cases, the governor’s office said. Previously it had been 27 facilities.
The disease especially impacts older adults and people with existing health problems as it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death.
At least 169 people across Oregon have died from the coronavirus and more than 4,980 in the state have tested positive for the disease.
Currently long-term care facilities are restricting visitation of non-essential visitors and screening essential individuals prior to entering the building.
“Expanding testing is an essential first step that will allow us to examine how visitation policies can be safely and incrementally eased,” Gov. Brown said.
More details about the state’s plan for testing in long-term care facilities will be released later this week.