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Emergency Regulations Issued on Confirmatory Testing

Last week, the State issued emergency regulations eliminating the requirement that nursing home residents be tested for influenza along with COVID-19 under certain conditions. Prior guidance required both types of tests. This latest iteration requires COVID-19 testing only "along with any other clinically appropriate testing," which leads us to believe that the Department of Health (DOH) may bring back influenza testing during flu season.

The guidance applies to nursing homes, hospitals, funeral directors, and medical examiners/coroners. The confirmatory testing requirement applies to the following scenarios for nursing home residents:

(1) Any resident with symptoms of COVID-19 or who has been exposed to COVID-19 shall be tested for the COVID-19 virus, along with any other clinically appropriate testing.

(2) Whenever a person expires while in a nursing home, where in the professional judgment of the nursing home clinician there is a clinical suspicion that COVID-19 was a cause of death, but no such test was performed in the 14 days before death, the nursing home shall administer a COVID-19 test within 48 hours after death, along with any other clinically appropriate testing. Such COVID-19 test shall be performed using rapid testing methodologies to the extent available. The facility shall report the death to the Department immediately after and only upon receipt of such test results through the Health Emergency Response Data System (HERDS). Notwithstanding the foregoing, no test shall be administered if the next of kin objects to such testing. Should the nursing home lack the ability to perform such testing expeditiously, the nursing home should request assistance from the State Department of Health.

Members may recall an Executive Order issued May 6th that eliminated the influenza testing requirement. This promulgation in regulation solidifies that change. Please feel free to reach out with questions.

Contact: Meg Everett, meverett@leadingageny.org, 518-929-9342