The Health Department works closely with the Department of Disabilities, Aging and Independent Living and long-term care facilities to help them prepare for cases of COVID-19. Other types of group living settings, also called congregate care settings, can follow strategies to detect and prevent the spread of respiratory viruses like the new coronavirus.
WHAT WE ARE DOING
The Health Department has contacted all long-term care facilities, nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and senior housing facilities proactively to review strategies to prevent COVID-19 infection and develop plans to respond immediately if an infection is identified. We complete an in-depth assessment by phone and provide guidance about personal protective equipment and other infection prevention and control recommendations. We continue to stay in touch for any technical assistance needs and additional questions.
If a case of COVID-19 is associated with a long term care facility, an epidemiology team is quickly activated. They contact the facility to provide recommendations and infection control support. The team begins contact tracing to determine the source of the infection and how it may be spreading. They ask questions and collect information to help identify anyone the patient had close contact with. The team communicates with close contacts to ensure isolation and quarantine guidelines are being followed, which will differ depending on the type of setting.
Facilities may offer visitation with residents. Check with the facility before planning a visit. Visitors should be screened before entry. Visitors' movements and interactions with people in the facility should be limited. Medically necessary personnel and visitors for residents receiving end-of-life care are allowed inside.
The Health Department recommends that all health care personnel in long-term care facilities and other congregate care living settings where health care is provided wear face masks, regardless of the presence of COVID-19 in the facility.
Residents and staff of congregate care settings and new admissions to nursing homes, assisted living residences, and residential care homes must complete the full 14-day quarantine period. Testing out of quarantine after day 7 is not an option unless alternate guidance is provided by the Health Department.
The CDC recommends to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in long-term care facilities are the same strategies these facilities use every day to detect and prevent the spread of other respiratory viruses like influenza.
For more information on antigen testing see the following resources:
Guidance and resources from device manufacturers
Long-Term Care Facilities
- NEW Guidance for Operations During COVID-19 Health Emergency
- Considerations for Residents Returning to Long-term Care FacilitiesNEW(link is external)
- Writing a COVID-19 Outbreak Preparedness and Response Plan for a Long term Care Facility
- Disabilities, Aging and Independent Living Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) information for Long-Term Care Facilities (link is external)
- Strategies to Prevent the Spread of COVID-19 in Long-Term Care Facilities (CDC)
Other Congregate or Group Living Facilities
- NEW Health Guidance for Adult Day Centers
- Shelter Cleaning and Disinfection
- Homeless Shelters or Meal Provision Sites: Congregate Dining and Meal Program Guidance
- Preparing for COVID-19 in Mental Health Residential Settings
- Guidance for Managers and Owners: Preventing the Spread of COVID-19 in Senior Living Communities
- Guidance for Managers and Owners: Preventing the Spread of COVID-19 in Apartment Complexes
- Guidance for Retirement Communities and Independent Living (CDC)