Louisiana gets tougher with nursing homes over virus testing

State News

FILE – In this March 20, 2020, file photo, a resident of the Lambeth House, where a cluster of COVID-19 has formed, reacts from her balcony as opera singers Irini Hymel and Bryan Hymel sing to the quarantined residents in New Orleans. As coronavirus cases spike ever higher in Louisiana, the state’s nursing homes, assisted living sites and adult residential care facilities are showing more and more “clusters” of the virus, but the full scale of the outbreak at those sites remains uncertain. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert, File)

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Louisiana’s health department has toughened its coronavirus testing requirements for nursing homes.

The agency is telling the facilities that they must regularly test residents and workers for COVID-19 or face financial penalties from the state.

The bolstering of protections for the state’s most vulnerable comes after some Louisiana nursing homes didn’t follow earlier voluntary testing standards recommended by the state Department of Health.

Several facilities refused to provide any information about their testing plans to the agency.

Nursing homes account for more than 40% of Louisiana’s COVID-19 deaths.

Louisiana fell short of its goal to test all nursing home residents and workers by the end of May.

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