Please keep reading our information because the messaging is changing every day. Below is the latest information provided to the association -- please note that we will continue to send updates as soon as we receive any new information.
DOH Reports Facility Deaths Associated with COVID-19

If your community's numbers are inaccurately listed, please contact us as soon as possible.

Late last week, the Department of Health began reporting the number of long term care facility resident and staff deaths associated with COVID-19. The data is in addition to the expanded long term care facility list of cases of COVID-19 positive residents and staff.

Click here  to review the new list, which DOH has indicated will be updated weekly. DOH noted that data in this report is provisional and subject to change, and that the information contained reflects the current available information for nursing homes and ALFs that have had a death that can be linked to the facility. They also indicate that the information was reported to the Department's epidemiological data collection system through the DOH contact tracing efforts for positive COVID-19 cases.

If you believe the DOH Mortality Report contains errors associated with your facility, contact the County Health Department leadership to report the discrepancy and to request a correction on the subsequent weekly report.

DOH Testing Teams Require Staff to Wear Full PPE Including Eye Protection Under Special Conditions

The Epidemiology Units of the County Departments of Health use the CDC’s Interim Guidance for Risk Assessment and Public Health Management of Healthcare Personnel with Potential Exposure in the screening phase of their assessments of assisted living facilities with an outbreak.
                     

Senior living communities should not lose sight of the potential risks that cause staff to be quarantined. Whenever a person tests positive for COVID-19, the county health department conducts an investigation to identify everybody the positive person has had contact with over the past 14 days. As part of this investigation, the county health department will evaluate the nature of the contact, determine the risk of exposure (e.g., low, medium, high), and recommend courses of action for the exposed persons.

As a starting point, for all evaluations of risk, investigators will ask if staff had prolonged close contact with a resident with COVID-19 (beginning 48 hours before symptom onset). Source control – ie: residents wearing masks during care – is a key measurement in the determination of risk. Eye protection for health care personnel – in addition to face masks – is also used as a marker between a low and a medium risk assessment.

In assisted living facilities, especially memory care units and other settings where residents are not wearing masks, this clinical judgment and CDC guidance becomes particularly important when it comes down to a positive resident’s previous prolonged close contact with staff. 

In other words, it is very likely that your county health department will quarantine your staff (wearing a face mask/respirator but not eye protection) who has prolonged close contact with a resident who subsequently tests positive for COVID19.

The CDC’s Epidemiologic Risk Classification for Asymptomatic Healthcare Personnel Following Exposure to Patients with COVID-19 or their Secretions/Excretions in a Healthcare Setting, and their Associated Monitoring and Work Restriction Recommendations (see Table 1 ) is used by County representatives deciding to issue a request to quarantine exposed staff for 14 days. Of note, too, are the Table 1 footnotes that describe additional scenarios.

FSLA has confirmed that every county health department should be using the same methodology for evaluating risks and determining work restrictions. Every community will need to make its best clinical judgment for how to balance the risks of having staff quarantined vs the extent and situations varying levels of PPE should be worn.

FSLA Members may direct questions to staff at lgriffin@floridaseniorliving.org or by calling (850) 708-4971.

Related Resources



Emergency Status System - Understanding the New Fields
As reported in our 4/27/20 Rapid Communication publication to Members, the Agency for Health Care Administration announced on 4/25 that they'd added 3 new fields to the Emergency Status System, their online database used to capture their licensed facilities emergency status (s. 408.821 (4), F.S.). The new fields relate to designated wings and current positive/negative status.

There have been some questions about the new field titles and exactly what the Agency is expecting to be reported in the new fields. The descriptive explanations are not embedded with the new fields; but rather, the Additional Questions Descriptors are posted elsewhere on the Agency's site.

Conceptually, the new fields were added to better reflect a long-term care facility's current status as reported in the Department of Health's list of long-term care facilities with positive COVID-19 cases. 

Direct ESS questions to FSLA staff at  lgriffin@floridaseniorliving.org  or (850) 708-4971.


COVID-19 Facility Information (AHCA)  (scroll down to  ESS Resources )