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LeadingAge NY Obtains Clarifications Regarding Updated CDC Guidance

As LeadingAge NY previously reported, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued new respiratory virus guidance for the general public to mitigate the risk of transmission of COVID-19 and other common respiratory viral illnesses such as influenza and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). On March 7th, the Department of Health (DOH) issued a health advisory referencing the updated CDC recommendations. While the updated CDC guidance clearly applies to the general public and senior housing, there remained confusion about the applicability to adult care facility (ACF) and assisted living (AL) providers.

LeadingAge NY was able to confirm with DOH’s Bureau of Communicable Disease Control that, for the purposes of this guidance, ACF and AL providers are not considered health care settings. Thus, ACF and AL providers should follow the new CDC community guidance in the updated recommendations on when to stay home and when to return to normal activities after viral respiratory illnesses, for staff and residents. The Bureau also pointed to the Respiratory Viruses and Older Adults CDC guidance.

ACF and AL providers are reminded that while the updated CDC guidance does away with the recommendation to isolate for five days, and instead recommends staying home only until at least 24 hours have elapsed since resolution of fever and improved symptoms, it also recognizes that a residual risk of COVID-19 and other respiratory virus transmission remains after that period. It therefore advises five additional days of interventions (i.e., masking, testing, distancing, improved air quality, hygiene, and/or testing) to reduce the spread of disease during later stages of illness. This is especially important to protect people at higher risk of severe illness. The guidance also points out that some people, especially those with weakened immune systems, might be able to infect others with COVID-19, influenza, or RSV for an even longer time.

Consistent with prior guidance, DOH directs visiting or shared personnel, such as home care and hospice agency personnel, providing services in ACF and AL settings to follow the health care guidance. The CDC offers separate, specific guidance for health care settings: COVID-19flu, and general infection prevention and control. DOH also directs nursing home, home care, and hospice providers to the health care guidance, which has not changed.

Click here for more information regarding the updated CDC guidance.

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