As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, UPMC systems have a strategy in place to help the most vulnerable to the virus, the elderly.

UPMC leaders say while COVID-19 cases are down since the start of the pandemic, they don’t want to wait for the virus to appear. Their philosophy is that they need to hunt it down.

Throughout UPMC’s 30 senior living facilities and over 3,000 residents, not a single person has COVID-19.

“But, we know that this is a vulnerable population. Since the beginning, we have been trying to adapt our testing strategy based on evolving information and expanding testing capacity.” said David A. Nace, M.D., M.P.H., the Chief Medical Officer at UPMC Senior Communities.

They have developed a plan to offer COVID-19 testing to asymptomatic residents in their senior facilities.

“This means that we’re going to be offering the nasal swab test to residents who have no signs or symptoms of the virus.” Dr. Nace said.

Dr. Nace saying that protecting the elderly is a critically important component in safely reopening society.

“This will allow us special insights that can help us with an understanding of how the virus is spread in this population. It will help to inform public health officials in our communities about the needs of senior care facilities.” Dr. Nace said.

Last week, UPMC started doing pilot testing through several senior facilities. All results were negative.

Since the pandemic, UPMC has discharged more than 500 people who were treated and recovered from COVID-19. That is five times as many people as who are currently hospitalized across the UPMC system