Nursing home owner worried about delay in coronavirus test results

PITTSBURGH — Nursing homes are where some of the people most at risk for serious COVID-19 health issues live, but at least one owner says his residents aren’t getting the results from their tests.

"The response that we got today was, ‘Please don’t call us back. we don’t have the test results,’” James Cox, owner of Paramount Senior Living Facilities, said.

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One of the residents took the test Friday, but after five days, is still waiting to hear back.

“They were very short and rude, to cut to the chase, with the response. Whenever we asked questions, the comment was, ‘We don’t have time. We’re getting lots of calls so please don’t call us back,’” Cox said.

Cox’s staff has already resorted to making their own face masks. Adding to all this frustration, he found out two of his health care workers who came into contact with the patient who was tested were denied testing.

“We sent them out to be tested, and we were talking to physicians and Department of Health and came back a few days later and said they felt they didn’t meet the criteria to be tested,” he said.

Cox told 11 Investigates he believes that’s unacceptable, especially since the state says those groups should get priority.

"So it is very frustrating, and it concerns me that there is a disconnect with what is said at state level and at the county level and what we are actually seeing as the front-line providers,” he said.

11 Investigates’ Angie Moreschi followed up with the Health Department Wednesday by submitting written questions. The state responded saying officials recommend only people with symptoms or exposed to someone with a positive test should get tested -- even if they are health care workers.

"We have the most vulnerable populations living with us, and we need answers quickly,” Cox said.