May 15, 2020 – St. Luke Health Services and affiliate organizations Bishop’s Commons and St. Francis Commons began testing employees on their healthcare campus this week in response to an Executive Order issued Sunday, May 10 by New York State Governor Cuomo requiring that all nursing home and adult care facility personnel in the State undergo bi-weekly diagnostic testing for the COVID-19 virus.
CEO and Administrator Terrence Gorman stated St. Luke and affiliates fully support testing and have been advocating for the capacity to test staff and residents with local officials. “From our standpoint, identifying if or where this virus may be on our healthcare campus requires testing, followed with isolation, treatment and tracing. In our view, this is the best way to protect our residents and staff.”
For those at St. Luke, the importance of testing became evident when late last week an employee tested positive for the virus. This was the first positive case on the healthcare campus since the pandemic began. Subsequently, the employee has been in isolation at home and all residents at St. Luke who may have had contact with the infected individual were themselves tested and all reported negative for the virus.
“I think that our first experience with the virus underscores the importance of testing and it give providers like us an opportunity to add to the measures we already take to protect our residents and staff,” said Gorman.
On Wednesday, in cooperation with the Oswego Hospital and Oswego County Health Department, St. Luke and affiliates began diagnostic testing of employees at locations including a one day mobile testing site on the healthcare campus, as well as access to the mobile testing site located at the Oswego Hospital. This testing is the first step in developing a workable plan to test all staff twice a week.
“We have been fortunate that Oswego Hospital and the County Health Department are both responding to this new mandate through a temporary increase in their testing capacities to accommodate providers," said Greg Osetek, Director of Community Relations. "We are working with our local healthcare providers to get as much testing accomplished now as we work to implement a sustainable testing program for nursing home and adult care facility employees going forward.”
“This remains an evolving situation of unknown duration,” said Gorman, “We will continue to do our best to care for our residents while protecting our staff and those in our community.”
Those seeking updated information concerning the active measures St. Luke and affiliates are taking in response to this pandemic can visit their website.