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DOH Issues FAQs for Nursing Homes on COVID-19 Infection Prevention

On Nov. 22nd, the Department of Health (DOH) issued an Advisory with Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) regarding COVID-19 infection prevention in nursing homes. The FAQs largely align with prior guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), and DOH. Members are encouraged to read the entire document; however, the FAQs include two noteworthy questions often raised by LeadingAge NY members:

  1. Do nursing homes need to continue enforcing social distancing in common areas?
    • Facilities should follow CMS requirements that recommend encouraging physical distancing during peak times of visitation and large gatherings (e.g., parties, events). CDC also recommends taking measures to limit crowding in communal spaces.
  1. Do nursing homes need to continue daily monitoring of residents for signs and symptoms of COVID-19?
    • There are no CDC, CMS, or NYS-specific guidance or requirements to monitor residents for signs and symptoms of COVID-19 daily. However, facilities are strongly advised to maintain a low threshold for identifying and testing residents who present with signs or symptoms consistent with COVID-19, influenza, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), and other viral respiratory pathogens, as appropriate.

The links to the referenced CDC, CMS, and DOH guidance documents in the Advisory are not active. LeadingAge NY believes, although we cannot be certain, that they are intended to direct readers to the following guidance:

Members should also take note of the DOH guidance on testing, cohorting, and visitation issued last month, available here.

Today's FAQ Advisory provides two email addresses for inquiries: covidnursinghomeinfo@health.ny.gov or icp@health.ny.gov. The Advisory was addressed to local health departments, as well as nursing homes.

Contact: Karen Lipson, klipson@leadingageny.org