JAA COVID-19 testing update
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COVID-19In brief

JAA COVID-19 testing update

Working with Squirrel Hill Health Center

Squirrel Hill Health Center employees help to test JAA staff for COVID-19. JAA facilities remain free of the coronavirus. Photo provided by Tinsy Labrie.
Squirrel Hill Health Center employees help to test JAA staff for COVID-19. JAA facilities remain free of the coronavirus. Photo provided by Tinsy Labrie.

All Jewish Association on Aging communities continue to remain COVID-free, including AHAVA Memory Care Center, Charles Morris Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, Weinberg Village, Weinberg Terrace, and the New Riverview, according to Tinsy Labrie, director of marketing and public relations at the Jewish Association on Aging.

Only one JAA community – Charles Morris – has seen a positive case of the coronavirus among its residents and staff; one employee tested positive in April. Contact tracing indicated that employee’s exposure was within the wider community, and not at Charles Morris, and subsequent tests have come back negative, according to information provided by the JAA.

In its newest guidance for long term care facilities, the Pennsylvania Department of Health suggests that wide scale testing occur regularly. The JAA has moved into this testing phase as part of its precautionary safety protocol.

“As with other COVID screening, testing at JAA occurs NOT because of an actual virus outbreak but to assure an outbreak does not happen,” Labrie wrote in a prepared statement.

The JAA is piloting a testing program with the Squirrel Hill Health Center to test a limited number of staff using easily administered, oral cheek swabs.

Swab tests were provided by the Allegheny County Health Department to various countywide community health centers including Squirrel Hill Health Center. Susan Friedberg Kalson, president and CEO of the SHHC, reached out to JAA’s president and CEO, Deborah Winn-Horvitz, to collaborate on testing to protect JAA’s vulnerable residents and staff who care for them.

On Friday, May 29, the SHHC’s Dr. Alex Suarez and other SHHC staff were on JAA’s campus outside the AHAVA Memory Care Center to conduct testing of JAA staff and other community members who came to the site.

All completed tests were sent overnight to a lab in California. Results were expected in two to three days.

Testing at the JAA will continue on Friday, June 5 from 9 a.m. to noon. Tests are free and members of the public are welcome to be tested, with priority given to underserved and vulnerable populations, according to the JAA. To save time and secure a testing appointment, SHCC recommends registering in advance at https://allegheny.curativeinc.com/welcome. For more information, call the Squirrel Hill Health Center at 412-422-7442. PJC

Toby Tabachnick

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