Retirement community begins COVID testing

Covid test
Posted at 12:17 PM, Dec 31, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-31 14:17:29-05

MERIDIAN — In an effort to ease concerns related to COVID-19 and to keep the public and residents safe, a Meridian retirement community is launching a testing process to identify the novel coronavirus and enable more visitation.

In a release on New Year's Eve, Touchmark announced the purchase of Accula COVID-19 testing machines.

“Our mission to enrich people’s lives drives everything we do,” says Touchmark Executive Director Cristy Wells. “We are a company that has been providing meaningful services and hospitality for 40 years, and we were able to purchase the Accula SARS-CoV-2 testing cards and tests. Over the past 10 months, we, like other providers, have needed to limit the hand-to-hand connection with loved ones to minimize the virus’s spread. We’ve seen the toll it can have on people’s overall well-being and vibrancy. This additional option for connecting is welcome news.”

A factsheet published by the FDA and updated in August suggests negative Accula COVID tests are less than a full-throated testament of being disease-free. The sheet reads, "a negative test result for this test means that SARS-CoV-2 RNA was not present in the specimen above the limit of detection. However, a negative result does not rule out COVID-19 and should not be used as the sole basis for treatment or patient management decisions. It is possible to test a person too early or too late during COVID-19 infection to make an accurate diagnosis via Accula SARS-CoV-2 Test. When diagnostic testing is negative, the possibility of a false negative result should be considered in the context of a patient’s recent exposures and the presence of clinical signs and symptoms consistent with COVID-19. The possibility of a false negative result should especially be considered if the patient’s recent exposures or clinical presentation indicate that COVID19 is likely, and diagnostic tests for other causes of illness (e.g., other respiratory illness) are negative."

Touchmark's release suggests the false-negative concern has been considered, reading that visitors who test negative will still need to comply with wearing masks at all times, in communal areas, wearing face shields, maintaining social distance, hand-washing and hygiene practices.