State-required COVID-19 testing at all nursing homes and long-term care facilities landed on the doorstep of Fannie B Manor on Friday.
“It was a bit of a shock to see that many military personnel outside Fannie B’s putting on blue suits,” said Fannie B administrator Jerry Denton. “I was watching them by the camera we have on the parking lot. Of course, those suits are for their protection as well as the protection of our residents and staff.”
The Tennessee Department of Health has been in continual contact with the 700-plus nursing homes and long-term care facilities across the state, says Denton.
“We get regular updates from them telling us what we can and cannot do,” said Denton. “Actually, they inundate us with emails. We’ve been under quarantine since April. Only essential people. We have allowed family members in during a crisis, but we’ve only had two of those. Other than that, it has been residents, home healthcare nurses, and physicians only.”
One of the emails asked facilities to submit to COVID-19 testing.
“It was mandated testing, but we welcomed it,” said Denton. “We were asked to participate and we immediately signed up to do so. We thought they had forgotten about us. I called and they said ‘no, they hadn’t forgotten, but we were at the bottom of the list.’ The deadline for testing was May 31, but the deadline was extended.”
Testing was done via throat swab, not nasal.
“I was happy they did throat swabs instead,” said Denton. “I was concerned about the anxiety created in our residents. Some were already showing signs of stress, then in come military personnel in blue suits wanting to shove a big stick up their nose. The throat swabs worked out better.”
Gov. Bill Lee said testing at these facilities is an effort to protect the more vulnerable populations in Tennessee.