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Nursing Home Testing in Cambridge Reveals More Than 200 Cases of COVID-19

The Cambridge Public Health Department reported that 212 people who live and work in Cambridge nursing and assisted living facilities have tested positive for COIVD-19, the city announced Monday morning.
The Cambridge Public Health Department reported that 212 people who live and work in Cambridge nursing and assisted living facilities have tested positive for COIVD-19, the city announced Monday morning. By Jonathan G. Yuan
By Maria G. Gonzalez, Crimson Staff Writer

The Cambridge Public Health Department reported that 203 people who live and work in Cambridge nursing and assisted living facilities have tested positive for COIVD-19, including six who have died from the disease, the city announced Monday morning.

Coronavirus testing in nursing homes occured over the weekend as part of a partnership between the Broad Institute and the Cambridge Public Health Department. The pilot project facilitated “surveillance testing” for COVID-19, in which all nursing home residents and workers were tested regardless of whether they were symptomatic.

All facility residents and workers are being tested twice, with the initial and final tests being conducted three days apart, according to the city’s announcement.

While the Cambridge Public Health Department does not yet have data on the breakdown of cases among residents and workers — including how many of the positive cases are Cambridge residents — the health department “expects to have and report on this information in the near future,” the city’s announcement read.

Prior to receiving Monday’s results from the nursing home tests, the city had reported 256 confirmed cases and 1 confirmed death among Cambridge residents.

The city announced the public health department is currently working with Cambridge’s nursing facilities to provide guidance on “cohorting” patients — a process by which those who have tested positive are grouped together and those who have tested negative are grouped together. The practice is intended to prevent contact between infected and non-infected individuals.

The public health department is also providing strategies for “crisis staffing” — which aims to mitigate healthcare personnel staffing shortages due to COVID-19 — as guided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

If there are not enough staff to provide care, CDC strategies for managing staffing shortages include transferring patients to alternate care sites with adequate staffing, and allowing asymptomatic healthcare personnel — who have had unprotected exposure to COVID-19 — to continue to work.

The CDC also advises that healthcare facilities make plans to provide resources to assist healthcare workers with anxiety and stress management.

—Staff writer Maria G. Gonzalez can be reached at maria.gonzalez@thecrimson.com. Follow her on Twitter @mariaagrace1.

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