December 22, 2020
DOH Issues Updated Guidance Impacting LTC Facilities and Hospitals
Washington State Department of Health DOH has updated two guidance documents:

The healthcare setting outbreak definition has been updated to increase the thresholds that define an outbreak in inpatient hospitals, long term care facilities and agencies, and outpatient healthcare settings. We hope that this change will more accurately identify indications of transmission within a healthcare facility. Please note: CMS still requires testing of all staff and residents if a single new case of COVID-19 is identified in any health care worker (HCW) or when a resident is diagnosed with facility-acquired COVID-19. Every case of COVID-19 diagnosed in a facility should be reported to your local health jurisdiction (LHJ).

The guidance for transferring between long term care and other healthcare settings has been updated to emphasize that “testing should not be required prior to transfer of a resident to a long term care facility,” and to provide additional guidance and minimum standards for admitting to a long term care facility during a long term care facility COVID-19 outbreak including:
  • Infection prevention policies must be in place and infection prevention expertise available;
  • Adequate staffing, PPE, and testing capacity to safely care for residents;
  • A designated COVID unit or area, or plans in place for a designated COVID unit or are that can be quickly implemented;
  • A plan in place for cohorting residents and staff;
  • At least one round of facility-wide testing complete, with all results reported; and
  • Notifying the resident to be admitted (or guardian/POA) of the COVID status in the facility.

Facilities should continue to collaborate with the LHJ on outbreak response. If you have questions, please email Elena Madrid or Vicki McNealley.
WHCA continues to post resources and information as it becomes available on our website. If you have questions or need additional information, please call the WHCA office at (800) 562-6170.