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Category: COVID-19 News

Reviewing COVID-19 Testing Protocols in Assisted Living

Testing continues to be an essential component of infection prevention and control in our settings. Questions about required testing continue because of the rapid guidance changes and the different required testing strategies between assisted living and nursing homes. New testing guidance for assisted living communities was updated on March 3.

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NHSN to Offer Webinar for Nursing Homes on Vaccination Data Tracking Worksheets

The NHSN Vaccination Team is providing two webinars on Tuesday, March 29, and Thursday, March 31, at 1 pm to review new “Event-Level COVID-19 Vaccination Forms.”  These are currently called the Data Tracking Worksheets that are available to facilities in an Excel spreadsheet format. This worksheet has now been built into the NHSN application for long-term care facilities to manage person-level vaccination data.

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OSHA Advances Work to Establish Permanent COVID Standard for Healthcare Workers

OSHA announced this week that it will take new public comment on the emergency temporary standard (ETS) issued last summer in relation to COVID-19 exposure in healthcare settings, and will hold a public hearing on these issues April 27.

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Upcoming Changes to Reporting Negative Antigen Results

The federal Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) updated the reporting requirements for COVID-19 point of care (POC) tests. The update to section 18115 of the Cares Act changes the facility’s reporting requirements for negative point of care (POC) test results.

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Pfizer and BioNTech Apply for 2ND Booster EUA

This week, the makers of a COVID-19 vaccine applied with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for emergency use authorization (EUA) for a second booster dose.

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CMS Updates Two Quality and Safety Oversight Memos

On March 10, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) updated two quality and safety oversight memos to align more closely with the previously updated guidance from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). 

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HUD Posts Updated Flyer on Resident and Owner Rights for REAC

The US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has posted an updated flyer with information on physical inspections during the COVID-19 pandemic, replacing an earlier version published in 2021.

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OSHA Announces Focused Inspections of Nursing Homes and Hospitals

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has announced an enforcement memorandum for a short-term increase in highly focused inspections directed at hospitals and skilled nursing care facilities that treat or handle COVID-19 patients.

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As Transmission Rates Fall, Use of Eye Protection May Change

As case counts are starting to decrease in Minnesota, questions about eye protection arise. The level of community transmission guides the use of universal eye protection. Those individuals in counties with high to substantial transmission rates are more likely to have contact with someone who is asymptomatic and positive for COVID-19.

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New Reference to “Up To Date” Vaccination Status in Guidance

On Jan. 21, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updated its Interim Guidance for Managing Healthcare Personnel with SARS-CoV-2 Infection or Exposure to SARS-CoV-2. There were two small changes to the guidance.

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CMS Staff Vaccination Rule: Phase 2 Deadline is Feb. 28

Implementation of the CMS staff vaccination mandate continues in full swing, with the Phase 2 compliance deadline arriving on Monday, Feb. 28.

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CDC Updates Clinical Considerations for Use of COVID-19 Vaccines

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has updated their Interim Clinical Considerations for Use of COVID-19 Vaccines.

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Gov. Walz Signs Bill Extending Protections for First Responders, Frontline Workers

Governor Tim Walz has signed Chapter 32, HF 1203, into law, renewing and extending presumptive workers’ compensation eligibility for emergency first responders and front-line workers.

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FDA Approves the Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine; To be Marketed as Spikevax

On Jan. 31, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved a second COVID-19 vaccine. The vaccine has been known as the Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine; the approved vaccine will be marketed as Spikevax to prevent COVID-19 in individuals 18 years of age and older.

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CMS and CDC National Nursing Home Stakeholder Call

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) held a national stakeholder call on Feb. 2 to update its listeners regarding COVID-19, revisions to nursing home guidance, and best practices. The following is a summary for those who could not listen in on the call.

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CMS Updates Nursing Home Survey Tools for Staff Vaccination Mandate

Thursday, Jan. 27, marks Minnesota's Phase 1 compliance deadline for the CMS staff vaccination rule. Surveyors are now reviewing for nursing home compliance with this requirement on all initial certification, standard recertification surveys, and all complaint surveys, regardless of what issue the complaint involves. 

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Health Care Worker Return-to-Work FAQs

The CDC released revisions to their Interim Guidance for Managing Healthcare Personnel with SARS-CoV-2 Infection or Exposure to SARS-CoV-2 and Strategies to Mitigate Healthcare Personnel (HCW) Staffing Shortages on Dec. 23, 2021, significantly changing the return to work guidance for staff who experience high-risk exposures. Several questions have come up in the past few weeks regarding the complexities of the guidance.

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Abbott Extends Use of BinaxNOW Antigen Testing Cards

Abbott labs petitioned the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) last week to extend the use life of their BinaxNOW antigen testing cards, and the FDA approved the change.

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Recent CDC Guidance on Healthcare Workers Who Test Positive for COVID-19

In the recent CDC guidance revisions, there were notable changes in the return-to-work guidance for healthcare workers who test positive for COVID-19. The guidance is divided into three options depending on whether the organization is in conventional staffing, contingency staffing, or crisis staffing. 

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Recent CED Guidance on Exposed Healthcare Workers And Return To Work

The CDC released revisions to their Interim Guidance for Managing Healthcare Personnel with SARS-CoV-2 Infection or Exposure to SARS-CoV-2 and Strategies to Mitigate Healthcare Personnel (HCW) Staffing Shortages on Dec. 23, 2021. There are significant changes to return to work for staff who experience high-risk exposures in the recent update.

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