Sent on behalf of NC Division of Public Health
Sent on behalf of NC Division of Public Health

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FW: COVID-19 Update for NC LTCFs

This message is being sent on behalf of the NC Division of Public Health

 

COVID-19 Vaccine Update

COVID-19 vaccines will help us defeat this virus and get back to the people and places we love.  Vaccines are being tested on thousands of volunteers across the country and globe.   Promising vaccines are being manufactured at the same time they are being tested, so there will be an initial supply ready to go right away when the science shows which vaccines are found to be safe and effective.   As of November 30th, 2020, there are two vaccines that are at the end of the last phase of testing in clinical trials with promising results. One is from Pfizer and one from Moderna. For more information on the two vaccines available and some commonly asked questions, please refer to the NC DHHS COVID-19 Vaccine Update.

For facilities that signed up for the CDC’s Pharmacy Partnership for Long-Term Care Program for COVID-19 Vaccinations, they will be receiving communications from CVS and Walgreens over the next several weeks with next steps.

Visitor Testing

Per CMS Guidelines for nursing homes, while not required, CMS encourages facilities in medium or high-positivity counties to test visitors, if feasible. If so, facilities should prioritize visitors that visit regularly (e.g., weekly), although any visitor can be tested.  Facilities may also encourage visitors to be tested on their own prior to coming to the facility (e.g., within 2–3 days) with proof of negative test results and date of test.  A negative test result does not preclude the need for adhering to all other infection prevention practices including wearing of mask/face covering, hand hygiene, and social distancing.

 

NC Holiday Guidance for Residents, Staff, and Visitors of Residential Care Settings

 

As we move into the holiday season, we wanted to remind staff, families, and visitors of residents in residential care settings of the importance of protecting this vulnerable population. 

We recommend that residents do not leave the facility to attend holiday events with individuals outside of their household. We also recommend that staff do not attend holiday events or gatherings with individuals outside of their household.

Residential care facilities are at a very high risk for COVID-19 transmission and activities that residents and staff engage in outside of the facility may impact the health of the entire facility.

Follow NC DHHS Holiday Guidance for Residents, Staff, and Visitors of Residential Care Settings

CDC, CMS, and NC DHHS have provided guidance for safe way to celebrate the holidays.

  • Residents and families should be educated and encouraged to follow masking, social distancing and hand hygiene practices.
  • Consider getting a screening test ahead of your visit/gathering.
    • If you test positive, cancel any holiday plans, stay home, and isolate.
    • Even if you test negative, it’s important to continue to follow the prevention measures and practice the 3Ws.
  • Limit the number of guests and households at holiday visits/gatherings.

 

PPE Resource Request for LTC Facilities

NC DHHS continues to support Long-Term Care Facilities with Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) through a request process found here: https://covid19.ncdhhs.gov/information/health-care/requesting-ppe  If you have questions about how to put in a PPE request, email OEMSSupportCell@dhhs.nc.gov

 

Regional Prevention Support (RPS) Teams for Long-Term Care Facilities

Regional Prevention Support (RPS) teams have been established to assist LTCFs with infection prevention practices by conducting site visits to identify and address infection control gaps and provide education. These visits are collaborative, not regulatory or punitive, and the goal is to focus on quality improvement and patient safety to ensure your facility is doing everything it can to protect residents and staff from COVID-19. Your RPS team may send a letter or call to introduce themselves and discuss the program. Please take advantage of this great opportunity to work with infection control experts and help protect everyone at your facility.


Sincerely,
North Carolina Assisted Living Association


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