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CMS Updates County COVID-19 Positivity Data | Sept. 3-16, 2020 - IHCA

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CMS Updates County COVID-19 Positivity Data | Sept. 3-16, 2020

Posted Sep 23, 20202 min Read

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On September 23, 2020, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) published a new COVID-19 positivity rate data file that is used to determine testing frequency for nursing facility staff.  Please click here for the website to download the file.  The data is for the period of September 3 – 16, 2020.  Martin County is currently the only county above 10% positivity, indicating twice-weekly COVID-19 testing, although counties that were previously above 10% positivity must continue to test twice weekly for two weeks after falling below 10% positivity.

As we stated last week, CMS will be releasing the county positivity data on a weekly basis but not always on the same day.  CMS will also continue to modify and update the method to classify a county as green, yellow, or red.  Nursing facilities should implement a policy to check the CMS data weekly, on the same day each week.  The data does not need to be checked more often and changing the frequency of testing only needs to happen when a facility checks the data based on its policy, not immediately after CMS updates the data.  Accordingly, this will be the last week that we will send out a notice that the COVID-19 positivity rate data file has been updated, as facilities should be checking the data file on a weekly basis based on their internal policy. 

As a reminder, outbreak testing of all staff and residents should occur after any one positive in the facility and continue every 3 to 7 days until no new positive results occur.  Please review IHCA’s summary of the CMS testing mandate and contact us with any questions.  If your facility is in a county that was above 10% or 5% in the prior week, but that is below either of those thresholds this week your facility must continue to test at the higher frequency for two more weeks (10% and above required twice-weekly testing; 5% to 10% requires weekly testing).

Please note, this CMS testing mandate only applies to nursing facilities and not residential care facilities/assisted living communities.  However, residential care facilities/assisted living communities should continue to test symptomatic patients and follow the follow the ISDH Infection Control Standard Operating Procedures.

About the Author

Zach Cattell, President, Indiana Health Care Association