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CDC Issues New Guidance for Fully Vaccinated Nursing Home Residents and Staff

On April 27th, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued new guidance outlining the following changes:

  • Updated COVID-19 testing recommendations;
  • Updated visitation guidance describing circumstances when source control and physical distancing are not required during visitation; and
  • Added guidance for communal activities and dining in health care settings.

Please note that providers should continue to follow New York State guidance, which remains unchanged at this time. We will keep members apprised of any future changes in state guidance, but we are encouraged by the direction that the CDC is taking.

Below are some notable excerpts; the full guidance can be accessed here.

Group Activities and Communal Dining

  • Group activities:
    • If all patients/residents participating in the activity are fully vaccinated, then they may choose to have close contact and to not wear source control during the activity.
    • If unvaccinated patients/residents are present, then all participants in the group activity should wear source control and unvaccinated patients/residents should physically distance from others.
  • Communal dining:
    • Fully vaccinated patients/residents can participate in communal dining without use of source control or physical distancing.
    • If unvaccinated patients/residents are dining in a communal area (e.g., dining room) all patients/residents should use source control when not eating and unvaccinated patients/residents should continue to remain at least 6 feet from others.

Visitation

Physical distancing and source control recommendations when both the patient/resident and all of their visitors are fully vaccinated:

  • While alone in the patient/resident’s room or the designated visitation room, patients/residents and their visitor(s) can choose to have close contact (including touch) and to not wear source control.
  • Visitors should wear source control and physically distance from other healthcare personnel and other patients/residents/visitors that are not part of their group at all other times while in the facility.

Quarantine for Asymptomatic Patients and Residents

  • Quarantine is no longer recommended for residents who are being admitted to a post-acute care facility if they are fully vaccinated and have not had prolonged close contact with someone with SARS-CoV-2 infection in the prior 14 days.

Health Care Personnel

  • In general, fully vaccinated HCP should continue to wear source control while at work. However, fully vaccinated HCP could dine and socialize together in break rooms and conduct in- person meetings without source control or physical distancing. If unvaccinated HCP are present, everyone should wear source control and unvaccinated HCP should physically distance from others.
  • Expanded screening testing of asymptomatic HCP should be as follows:
    • Fully vaccinated HCP may be exempt from expanded screening testing. However, per recommendations above, vaccinated HCP should have a viral test if the HCP is symptomatic, has a higher-risk exposure or is working in a facility experiencing an outbreak.
    • In nursing homes, unvaccinated HCP should continue expanded screening testing as previously recommended.
    • For other healthcare facilities that are performing expanded screening testing for asymptomatic HCP who do not have a known exposure, vaccinated HCP can be excluded from such a testing program.

Again, providers should continue to follow New York State guidance. We will keep members apprised of any changes.

Contact: Diane Darbyshire, ddarbyshire@leadingageny.org, 518-867-8828