Allen Fire Department is working with Allen nursing homes to test all residents and staff members for COVID-19 in response to state orders. Texas Governor Greg Abbott announced the initiative in a press release on May 11. Allen Fire Department received test kits on Thursday, May 21.
Samples will be collected via nasal swabs by trained firefighters/paramedics and submitted to local labs for testing.
People living in nursing home or long-term care facilities, people ages 65 and older, and people of all ages with underlying medical conditions have higher risks for severe complications from COVID-19.
“For many nursing home residents, all three of those risk factors apply,” said Allen Fire Chief Jonathan Boyd. “By testing each resident and staff member, facilities will be able to proactively quarantine or seek additional care for people who test positive, even if they don’t show symptoms yet.”
Allen Fire Department began educating staff at nursing homes and other assisted living facilities in early March, before the first confirmed Texas COVID-19 case. Chief Boyd credits this early intervention with reducing Allen’s overall case count.
“We do expect the number of Allen cases to increase as we test more people. For some, that might be unsettling,” said Chief Boyd. “I want to make clear that it’s much better to know about these cases now, rather than waiting until someone is hospitalized or spreads the virus to more people.”