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FW: IMPORTANT NCDHHS COVID-19 Response Updates—Vaccine and Other Information

Please see this week’s updates below from NC DHHS regarding long-term care COVID-19 response efforts.

COVID-19 Vaccine Update

Please see this important 90 second message from fellow long-term care workers about the COVID-19 vaccine. Please share this video with all facility staff.

This link is to a document that lists facility enrollment status (MS Excel, 372 KB) in the CDC Pharmacy Partnership for Long-Term Care Program for COVID-19 Vaccination.

·      Enrolled facilities:Those facilities listed as CVS or Walgreens are enrolled in the program and will be receiving outreach directly from CVS or Walgreens.

·      Facilities that have not enrolled: Unfortunately, the enrollment period with the CDC has ended, but you still have options for your residents and staff. Given the life-saving potential of these vaccinations, we have asked your local health department to reach out to you to coordinate on vaccine services for your facilities’ staff and residents. Please coordinate with them to make arrangements to offer vaccine services to your residents and staff. These arrangements could include vaccination through your health department or another enrolled provider; or working with a long-term care pharmacy that has enrolled as a COVID-19 vaccine provider. The federal government has already paid for several hundred million doses of multiple COVID-19 vaccines through Operation Warp Speed, so the vaccine will be provided at no cost to your residents and staff. Providers may not bill for COVID-19 vaccine doses provided by the federal government, only for vaccine administration with no out-of-pocket for anyone, regardless of insurance status. The cost of vaccine will be covered by insurance or the federal government.

If you have questions on the CDC Pharmacy Partnership for LTC Vaccination Facility List (attached) please contact William.Krepps@dhhs.nc.gov. For more information on the two vaccines available and some commonly asked questions, please refer to the NC DHHS COVID-19 Vaccine Update or the NC DHHS Vaccine Web site for latest updates. Please also see the NC DHHS COVID Vaccine Infographic for more details on the vaccine distribution plan.

 

Infection Prevention Best Practices

As COVID 19 vaccine rolls out, it is very important to continue to follow infection prevention practices including the use of all recommended PPE. Members of the Division of Public Health’s Infection Prevention team held focused meetings with a subset of LTCFs that have not had any COVID-19 cases among their residents as of November 1, 2020, to discuss the infection prevention practices that have helped these facilities protect their residents so far into the pandemic. This document summarizes the key infection prevention recommendations from these discussions (MS Word, 22 KB).

Monoclonal Antibodies for Treatment of COVID-19

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has recently given emergency use authorization to two monoclonal antibody drugs for the treatment of mild to moderate COVID-19 in adults and pediatric patients with positive test results of direct SARS-CoV-2 viral testing who are 12 years of age and older weighing at least 40 kg, and who are at high risk of progressing to severe COVID-19 and/or hospitalization. These two products, bamlanivimab (manufactured by Eli Lilly) and casirivimab/imdevimab (manufactured by Regeneron), are administered via one-time IV infusion, followed by 1-hour of direct patient observation and are intended to be given in an outpatient setting. Currently US Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) controls the fair and equitable allocation of these products to State Departments of Health on a weekly basis. Skilled nursing facilities interested in obtaining access to these medications should reach out to their pharmacy provider. At this time, long term care pharmacies are eligible to receive bamlanivimab after completing a brief enrollment process. Casirivimab/imdevimab is currently only available to hospitals and hospital affiliated locations as per HHS/ASPR guidelines. For more information regarding access to monoclonal antibodies for the treatment of COVID-19 in North Carolina, please contact Tim Davis (tim.davis@dhhs.nc.gov).

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

 

As we continue the holiday season, please remind staff, families, and visitors of residents in residential care settings of the importance of protecting this vulnerable population by following holiday guidance. CDC, CMS, and NC DHHS have provided guidance for safe way to celebrate the holidays. It is recommended 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.

  • 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.

 

As COVID-19 cases continue to rise in our state, federal and state guidelines require facilities to limit indoor visitation to compassionate care reasons if the facility has a new onset of COVID-19 cases in the last 14 days and the facility is currently conducting outbreak testing. CMS’ visitation guidance also directs nursing homes located in a county where the positivity rate exceeds 10%, to limit indoor visitation to compassionate care situations. We encourage facilities to consider how they can best protect their residents while recognizing that compassionate care is not limited to end of life or to the specific examples provided by CMS. Facilities may utilize the role of individuals who support residents with safe activities of daily living and provide additional support for the residents’ physical and mental wellbeing to promote individualized care.

 

In addition, facilities are strongly encouraged to offer point-of-care testing for visitors. Testing could be prioritized for visitors that enter the facility more frequently. A negative test does not preclude the need for wearing a mask and practicing frequent hand hygiene.

 

Facilities should also consider providing surgical face masks for visitors entering the facility, particularly those entering more frequently. As a reminder, facilities with PPE needs can make requests per information below.

 

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.

 
 

 
 

Sincerely,
North Carolina Assisted Living Association


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