ROWLEY (CBS) – A skilled nursing and rehabilitation facility in Rowley is refusing the state’s request to test all of its residents and staff for COVID-19.
Steve Comley, the owner of Sea View Retreat, says he does not want to subject his residents to a test that he believes is uncomfortable and faulty. Comley says he also received some pushback from staff over the idea of mandatory testing.
“It is not a comfortable test. It is rather invasive. The failure rate, I believe, is over 30 percent at this point,” Comley said.
Right now, Sea View is testing any new resident who wishes to move into the facility.
Comley says it will no longer participate in a program by the state that provides supplemental funding to nursing homes that promise to test at least 90 percent of residents and staff by May 25.
The failure to comply with the state’s request means Sea View is forgoing roughly $150,000 in additional funding from MassHealth.
“Its money that we could really use. It would offset a lot of the added costs that are associated with combating this. But, not under these circumstances,” Comley said.
Instead, Sea View’s nursing director, Maureen Curley, says the facility will stick with the use of personal protective equipment. Guests are only allowed to enter one room in the building where they can see their loved ones through glass.
“The CNA’s here are incredible. They know these patients inside and out and they report every subtle change,” Curley said.
The Department of Public Health released a statement saying, “Testing is a key strategy for implementing public health and infection control measures to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in nursing facilities.”
During the course of the pandemic, the state launched a Mobile Testing Program which has provided more than 45,000 tests in long term care facilities.