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$246 million going to Virginia nursing homes to bolster COVID-19 response

The money will go toward testing residents and staff in long-term care facilities on an ongoing basis. Northam also ordered the VDH to make this testing data public.

RICHMOND, Va. — Nearly $250 million in federal funding will be going to long-term care facilities in the Commonwealth to shore up their testing capabilities as the pandemic presses on.

It's been widely reported that nursing homes are highly susceptible to individual outbreaks since the pandemic started.

As these facilities begin to reopen to visitors, the Virginia Department of Health has drawn up new guidelines requiring all of these centers to test their residents and staff on an ongoing basis. They've devised a phased-approach reopening plan for the facilities. These testing requirements will be enforced under the first phase.

The governor has also mandated that the VDH make the data on every test result and COVID-19 deaths within these senior living communities public. That data also includes the names of the facilities where outbreaks are cropping up.

The money, which is primarily from the CARES Act, will also go toward more staffing, personal protective equipment and help support the new testing requirements. Nursing homes that receive Medicaid payments will receive the bulk of the funds.

“The lockdowns of long-term care facilities to protect residents and staff from the spread of COVID-19 have been hard on residents and their families,” said Governor Northam. “These actions will help support long-term care facilities as they ease those restrictions, while keeping their residents safe and ensuring that the public gets accurate information on the spread of this virus in these facilities.”

Over the last few months, there have been repeated efforts to conduct point prevalence testing inside these facilities.

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