Testing still not enough of a certainty to allow for nursing home visitations

Reporter: Taylor Smith Writer: Jack Lowenstein
Published: Updated:
Credit: WINK News.

It’s been months since visitors were allowed inside nursing homes, and we know many people are missing their loved ones.

We got our first look Thursday at another reason why visitations aren’t allowed yet at long-term care facilities.

Dr. Benjamin Abo with NCH in Collier County says it is still too much of a risk letting visitors in to see their loved ones in nursing homes. He says hospitals and testing sites are always trying to tweak the testing to make it better. But, at this time, some test results are still not trusted.

“You don’t take any test 100% for granted,” Abo said. “So, if I clinically think you have [COVID-19] even if it comes back negative, I would still treat them [COVID-19] positive.”

Dr. Abo says it really depends on what rapid test you get if it will come back accurate.

“My experience as of lately, we have been running a lot more rapid tests in NCH,” Abo said. “We run rapid on everyone and the sensitivity have been pretty good.”

Thursday, Gov. Ron DeSantis said some tests can’t be trusted.

“Rapid testing, here’s the problem: You have one test that’s 15 minutes that has false positives,” DeSantis said publicly.

And this could be a problem if visitors were allowed inside nursing homes.

“If you want to go, in you may test negative, you may be infected and then you go in,” DeSantis said. “They can be helpful but not enough accuracy to say that’s something we need to hang our hat on.”

Even though it’s tough to be away from loved ones, for now, DeSantis is taking all precautions on by keeping visitors away.

“At the same time, and I understand there’s a huge strain when you’re told you can’t have visitors,” DeSantis said.

And Abo agrees it’s the safest way for everybody to stay healthy.

“I do agree, with as hard as it is, to limit it still as much as possible,” Abo said. “Even if the test is trustworthy, I still wouldn’t trust it.”

The governor said they are trying to create a plan to eventually regulate visitors that come into nursing homes.

Dr. Abo says he does not see these limitations changing anytime soon.

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