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DOH Reminds Nursing Homes of Steps to Take During Outbreaks and Will Send Resources

On Jan. 4th, the Department of Health (DOH) issued a Dear Administrator Letter (DAL) to nursing homes outlining a variety of recommendations to follow during COVID-19 outbreaks. While much of the DAL reminds providers of best practices, there are new recommendations and resources noted. DOH asks that you review the information with all staff.

The DAL also notes that the State will be distributing non-surgical paper masks directly to all nursing homes, with deliveries beginning on Jan. 6th and all deliveries anticipated to arrive by Jan. 12th. These masks are for use by all visitors and should be given to all visitors in place of cloth (woven fabric) masks upon entrance to the facility.

In addition, the State has a supply of N95 masks that can be made available to nursing homes in need of this resource. Facilities in need should submit a request for N95 masks (specify make, model, size, and quantity) to their county Office of Emergency Management (OEM).

Lastly, DOH will be providing over-the-counter rapid antigen tests, to begin arriving later this week. The DAL outlines the different uses and clinical and reporting implications. A nursing home is allowed to provide a visitor with a rapid test, and the visitor may test themselves. The results of self-testing for visitors will not need to be reported to either the Electronic Clinical Laboratory Reporting System (ECLRS) or to the Health Emergency Response Data System (HERDS).

Members should review the DAL carefully.

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