Montana nursing home that rejected free testing reports 23% of state's deaths

Nearly every resident at an assisted living facility in BIllings, Mont., has contracted COVID-19 after the facility turned down the state's offer of free surveillance testing in June, according to CNN.

At least 55 residents at Canyon Creek Memory Care have tested positive since July 3, and eight have died. Thirty-six staff members have also been infected, Pat Zellar, a spokesperson for Yellowstone County's health department, told CNN.

Montana offered the facility free COVID-19 testing June 16, Chase Salyers, a spokesman for Olympia, Wash.-based Koelsch Senior Communities, which operates the facility, confirmed to CNN

The state testing program would have just tested a "limited sampling of individuals within the community," Mr. Saylers told the network.

"Moreover, since the beginning of the outbreak, residents in our community were already being tested, and all of those test results were negative," he added. "Any of our residents who displayed symptoms since the outbreak started were being promptly referred for testing."

As of July 14, Montana has reported 34 COVID-19 deaths since the pandemic started. Canyon Creek's eight deaths account for nearly 23.5 percent of that death toll. 

More articles on post-acute care:

Wisconsin to test all nursing home residents, staff
Serious infection control issues found at 10 Life Care facilities, CMS says 
How a Maryland nursing home stayed coronavirus-free: 5 things to know


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