IPCWell - Infection Control Consultant & Expert - United States

The new CDC guidance for reopening your nursing home has much to unpack since the last CDC issued memo back in September. Let us have a closer look at this memo, which was revised on March 10th of 2021. While I will explain the revisions, the revised memo is available here. Since the revisions are extensive, I recommend printing the hard copy for easy accessibility. The memo’s revised portions are in red, so print this in color.

The core principles have remained the same, although there are some important changes to the overall protocol worth noting.

Pay close attention to the revision to indoor visitation portion. It is now allowed at all times for all residents with a few exceptions. Limit indoor visitations for:

  • Unvaccinated residents, if the nursing home’s COVID-19 county positivity rate is >10% and <70% of residents in the facility are fully vaccinated.
  • Residents with a confirmed COVID-19 infection, vaccinated or not, until they have met the criteria to discontinue Transmission-Based Precautions; or
  • Residents in quarantine, vaccinated or not, until they have met criteria for release from quarantine.

Indoor visitations in a facility with an outbreak (One new case of COVID-19 in your facility) were off limits, but as this is no longer the case, we need to fully understand the guidance on page 4 of this revised memo. The revision states that after the outbreak, visitation is suspended and the facility-wide testing resumes. If the first round of outbreak testing reveals no additional cases, visitation can resume for residents in areas/units with no cases. For example, if the first round of outbreak testing reveals two more COVID-19 cases in the same unit as the original case, but not in other units, visitation can resume for residents in areas/units with no COVID-19 cases.

Another updated piece which is great for our residents, is that if they are fully vaccinated, they can now actually hug and touch their loved ones and visitors. This is a welcomed change from socially distant or digital visitation.

As always, regardless of facility visitation status, compassionate care visits are allowed.

Thank you to all of our healthcare worker superheroes out there. Be safe and be well.