Senator Housley responds to reports of botched testing in state’s response to long-term care

After reports of botched COVID-19 testing at long-term care facilities in Minnesota, Senator Karin Housley (R-St. Marys Point), chair of the Senate Family Care and Aging Committee, issued the following statement:

“The residents and staff of long-term care facilities are on the front lines of this battle each and every day – and for months, they have been asking for help. At a time when the State of Minnesota should be coming to their rescue, I was incredibly disappointed to instead hear of such problems with the Department of Health’s rollout of widespread testing this week.

In the Star Tribune, the commissioner referred to a ‘rapid launch … [in which] important steps in the process were missed and there were miscommunications.’ Almost a month ago, I urged the administration to offer universal testing and implement workable guidance to long-term care facilities. This was not something that nobody saw coming. There should have been ample time to develop and implement concrete plans for efficiently and effectively testing all residents and staff in long-term care settings, particularly at facilities where there are outbreaks – and it’s distressing that did not happen here. What is it going to take for Minnesota to take this seriously?”

On April 28, Senator Housley asked the Department of Health to implement universal COVID-19 testing in long-term care facilities, where approximately 80 percent of fatalities were occurring. On May 6, Senator Housley sent a list of recommendations for immediate action to the Department of Health – many of which were included in the administration’s ‘five-point plan’ released on May 7. Yesterday, May 21, Senator Housley again urged the governor and his administration to take action and fully implement its long-term care plan, including a set of additional recommendations developed by medical experts in long-term care.

Senator Karin Housley represents Forest Lake, Stillwater, and the surrounding St. Croix Valley in the Minnesota Senate. She serves as chair of the Senate Family Care and Aging Committee and is an assistant majority leader.