Skip to Content
Close Icon

Mandatory COVID-19 testing begins at Eastridge and St. Marys Manor

COVID-19 has caused many problems this year, but one of the most concerning for many people has been the safety and isolation of loved ones in nursing homes. At Eastridge and St. Marys Manor, our staff has worked diligently to protect the vulnerable from COVID-19 infection while also ensuring that residents are cared for physically, spiritually, and mentally. Staff members have planned special activities and worked with residents to maintain family and social connections via FaceTime and visits at windows and outdoors with social distancing, masks, and other precautions. We have been grateful for the understanding and support we have received from family members through a difficult time.

Our nursing homes are governed by two main authorities: The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, or CMS; and the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services, or KDADS. We also routinely follow guidance from the Centers for Disease Control, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, and our county public health officials. During the pandemic, all of these agencies have issued requirements as well as valuable guidance, and we have worked hard to follow it to the letter. Our staff has done many hours of additional training on infection control, proper donning and doffing of personal protective equipment, and more, and they have cheerfully assumed extra duties to protect residents. We owe them so much for their efforts.

CMS recently issued two different orders to nursing homes. The first order, QSO-20-38-NH, requires facilities to test all staff, residents, and vendors for COVID-19. The second order, QSO-20-39-NH, issues guidance for visitors to nursing homes. Failure to follow CMS orders can result in financial penalties to nursing homes.

COVID-19 Testing

Eastridge and St. Marys Manor have acquired the supplies necessary to begin testing staff and residents. Testing requirements and frequency vary by county according to the COVID-19 activity level as determined by CMS. In communities with a low level of activity and a positivity rate of less than 5%, testing must be done once each month. In communities with medium activity, or a 5 to 10% positivity rate, testing must be done once each week. In communities with high activity, defined as a positivity rate of greater than 10%, testing must be done twice each week. If a facility has a positive case in either a resident or a staff member, it is considered to have an outbreak, and testing must be done every 3 to 7 days until the facility has had no positive tests for 14 days. At that time, testing can return to once a month if community activity is low.

Testing will be done using a machine supplied by CMS called the BD Veritor Plus System, which is an FDA-authorized antigen test. The Veritor does not require a nasopharyngeal swab. Instead, it uses a nasal swab, which is a much more comfortable process for the person who is being tested. The Veritor provides results rapidly, and members of our staff have been trained and certified in using it to test co-workers and residents. One concern with the Veritor is that it could provide false positives. Under the CHCS testing plan, if a staff member tests positive on the Veritor, that person will then be re-tested using a PCR test, which requires a nasopharyngeal swab. Associates who test positive on the Veritor will not be allowed to work while awaiting PCR test results and will be asked to quarantine. If the PCR result is negative, the associate will be allowed to work. If it’s positive, the associate will be asked to finish the quarantine period before returning to work.

As ordered by CMS, if a resident or a designee who makes medical decisions for residents decline to take the test, the resident will be quarantined for 14 days. Residents who test positive will be isolated and closely monitored for signs and symptoms.


CHCS fully recognizes the need for nursing home residents to connect with loved ones. CMS acknowledged this need in its September 17 guidance detailing how nursing homes can facilitate in-person visits without compromising safety. The following procedures must be followed:

  • All who enter must be screened for signs and symptoms of COVID-19 with temperature checks and questions;
  • All who enter must wash their hands or use alcohol-based hand sanitizer and wear a mask
  • Social distancing must be maintained during visits;
  • Enhanced cleaning and disinfecting of high-touch surfaces must be in place, and visitation areas must be cleaned after each visit;
  • Resident and staff testing must be conducted as detailed above; and
  • Visitors should be limited to one at a time and should be allowed only in designated visitation areas. Outdoor visits are encouraged when possible.

Our nursing homes have allowed compassionate care visits throughout the pandemic, and CMS also acknowledges the necessity of end-of-life visits, visits for residents who are adjusting to changed circumstances or grieving, or experiencing emotional distress. Our staff will continue to work with families to ensure that residents receive the highest-quality care, including in-person visits that allow personal contact when truly necessary. For all other visits, we will closely follow CMS orders.

How you can help

We know the citizens of northeast Kansas will continue to support their loved ones in our nursing homes, and we ask for their continued cooperation with a long, and sometimes frustrating, list of requirements. Everyone can help ensure that nursing home residents are protected not only by complying with procedures when visiting our facility, but also by adopting best practices to protect our communities from further spread of COVID-19: Wash your hands, wear your mask, and be sure to maintain social distancing when you are attending sporting events, shopping, or visiting friends.

All of us want the same thing, which is for our family members to receive the best possible care and to be as safe as possible. Thank you to our residents, families, and staff for their understanding and resilience. 


  • * - Indicates a required field