Re Tests

September 8, 2020

Dear Residents, Teammates and Family Members,

Last week we communicated to you that we utilized the BD Veritor Plus machine to conduct a round of required COVID-19 testing in the skilled nursing area at Presbyterian Village North (PVN). As a reminder the BD Veritor was provided by the government to aid organizations with testing.  The BD machine is an antigen testing device and antigen tests are designed to detect the presence of a specific viral antigen, which implies a current viral infection.

We had a total of eight residents and three teammates test positive for COVID-19.  None of these individuals had symptoms or common indicators for the virus.  There were strong indications at the time of testing that these results may have been false.  However, the regulations do not differentiate between actual and false positives.  Instead they require that impacted teammates are sent home to quarantine and impacted residents are moved to the COVID designated unit.  Based on these facts, we followed the required protocols.   We also took an additional step of retesting everyone impacted with a molecular test, which is conducted by an outside lab. 

Unfortunately, the results of these tests were delayed due to the holiday weekend; however, we are happy to state that all the impacted individuals tested negative for the COVID 19 virus.  We are further happy to report that the Dallas County Health and Human Services (DCHHS) was swift in their decision to allow us to move the impacted residents out of the COVID dedicated unit.  It is important to note that the impacted individuals will still have to remain isolated for a required period. Either they may do so either in skilled nursing, or should they discharge, at home.  We remain grateful for our excellent working relationship with the county.

We recognize how stressful this situation has been for everyone impacted.  Potentially faulty test equipment and unreliable results further add to this stress.  We are working closely with Dallas County Health and Human Services (DCHHS) regarding the reliability of the BD machine and other antigen testing devices.  It is our hope that other organizations can benefit from our experience and will not have to endure the same situation.

In the interim, we will no longer utilize the BD machine or other antigen testing machines for the required screenings.  Instead we will send screening tests to an outside lab for molecular testing.  This type of testing looks for the virus’ genetic material.  These tests are cost prohibitive to most organizations because they must be sent off site to a commercial lab.  However due the unreliability of the antigen equipment we received, we feel it is the safest and best alternative considering the current situation.

While PVN has a waiver to provide lab services onsite, the molecular equipment is expensive and has been difficult to acquire.  We ordered the equipment to conduct molecular testing in June.  Current estimates are that it will arrive sometime in October.   We remain committed to testing in combination with infection control and social distancing as way to mitigate the spread of the virus.  We also remain committed to being transparent and sharing information in real time.

We appreciate your understating during these uncertain times.  It remains a privilege to work with and serve each of you.  As always, please feel free to reach out with additional questions or concerns.


Bryan Cooper

Executive Director