MEDFORD, Ore. — Starting this week, southern Oregon nursing homes must test their staff for coronavirus. New Oregon health regulations will also require that testing be offered to residents of all assisted living homes.
"COVID-19 has been an adventure in relearning everything in senior living," said Ashley, executive director at Weatherly Inn.
Assisted living retirement homes are facing new everyday challenges to prevent the virus from spreading within the homes.
"The moment they walk out their apartment door to the moment they go back in for bed for the night, it can't be the same," Ashley continued.
New testing is now underway to help staff find the virus on surfaces and prevent it from spreading.
"In Medford, we have been due for over a month now. We have been doing surface testing, so this is kind of an early warning system that is not readily out there yet," said Fee, founder and CEO of the Springs at Veranda Park.
Wearing a mask and keeping a distance of six feet between residents are just a few of the many small safety precautions that people in assisted living homes must follow to prevent the virus from spreading and harming others.
"When we can reunite families and they can physically touch in a safe way, that just has tremendous health benefits," Fee added.
To formalize testing measures, new state regulations become effective on Wednesday — require staff testing for all assisted living homes, along with offering coronavirus tests to residents.
"Just this week, we have been working on and sending out to our communities our policies and procedures around the testing that's based on what we were given by the Oregon Health Authority and NDHS," said Amira, education and program leader for Compass of Pear Valley.
Now all southern Oregon assisted living homes are preparing for the coronavirus testing regimen required by those new Oregon Health Authority regulations.