As a result of recent COVID-19 variants found in Indiana and across the country, the Indiana Department of Health (IDH) will implement a new protocol to help detect and manage COVID-19 variants starting July 19, 2021. On and after July 19, IDH will adhere to the following protocol when three (3) or more cases are reported via RedCaps within a 14-day period at a long-term care facility (whether the three (3) cases are among residents and/or staff):
- IDH will contact the facility and then provide testing supplies to the facility via Langham Logistics.
- Nasopharyngeal (NP) samples should be collected from all residents and staff from the affected unit(s) and sent to the IDH lab via Langham Logistics. It is a best practice to collect samples within five (5) to seven (7) days of the initial positive test or symptom onset in the affected unit. If 14 days or more have elapsed since the resident or staff member initially tested positive, the facility should not collect an NP sample.
- Samples can be collected on weekends but must be refrigerated at 2–8 degrees C (35–46 F) until picked up by Langham.
- IDH will also send a spreadsheet for the facility to provide information about individuals on the affected unit(s).
- Once the tests are processed, IDH will provide the PCR test results to the facility. IDH’s laboratory will perform sequencing on all suitable samples as well, and IDH will inform the local health department any time a variant of concern is identified. The facility should contact IDH at StrikeTeamRequest@isdh.IN.gov to request the sequencing results.
There is no change in IDH’s Infection Control Standard Operating Procedure or Visitation Guidance with regard to outbreak testing, transmission-based precautions, visitation, excursions, or other processes when there is an outbreak, which is defined as one (1) or more facility-onset case(s). This is just a new protocol when three (3) or more cases occur within a 14-day period to help identify variants.
Clinical questions may be emailed to Dr. Shireesha Vuppalanchi at email@example.com, and all other questions regarding this protocol may be emailed to StrikeTeamRequest@isdh.IN.gov.