Billings senior centers start asymptomatic COVID-19 testing

Posted at 11:12 AM, May 31, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-31 13:12:45-04

Senior-assisted living facilities in Billings implemented COVID-19 testing this week for all residents and staff including those non-symptomatic.

Bella Terra and Avantara senior living facilities in Billings have taken strict measures to protect their residents and staff at this time, said Michael Speidel, regional administrator of Legacy Healthcare, which oversees the facilities.

Speidel says along with asymptomatic testing, they continue to practice regular hand washing, the wearing of PPE and proper social distancing.

Both senior living facilities have restricted visitor access and eliminated group dining and other activities.

The initiation of asymptomatic testing followed Gov. Steve Bullock's directive for Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services to expand testing in nursing homes and assisted living facilities.

According to RiverStone Health, Yellowstone County assisted-living facilities and nursing homes are expected to start receiving testing supplies from the state health department this week.

The asymptomatic testing supplies will differ from original COVID-19 test kits. The test swabs will only need to be inserted less than a half inch into the nostril, then placed in a vial for shipment to Montana Public Health lab in Helena.

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