LANCASTER – State health officials have overruled L.A. County, issuing a new order requiring all skilled nursing homes to test all residents for the coronavirus.
County officials had approved a less strict proposal that would have tested far fewer people.
“Nursing home residents, and the healthcare personnel who care for them, are among our most vulnerable COVID-19 infections,” Dr. Mark Ghaly, California’s health and human services Secretary, told the Los Angeles Times. “Mandatory testing will provide the knowledge we all need to make informed care decisions.”
On Tuesday, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted to hire an independent inspector general to investigate the county’s oversight of nursing homes.
An LA Times analysis earlier this month found that about half of all coronavirus deaths in California occurred in skilled nursing or assisted living facilities.
In a letter addressed to all such facilities state-wide, the state instructed them to test all residents and staff at least once. That goes much further than the county rules, which would have allowed homes with no cases to skip testing their staffs and test only 10 percent of their occupants once a week.