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On October 2, 2020, Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH) leadership, IHCA/INCAL, and leaders of the other long-term care associations discussed a recent uptick in COVID-19 cases among long-term care residents and staff. Specifically, 218 COVID-19 cases were reported in the last 24 hours among long-term care residents and staff. While this data will go through the verification process, the number is very concerning to ISDH as it is as high as some weekly COVID-19 case counts as reported by the LTC Dashboard (see below historical numbers). Current hotspots include North Central and Southwestern Indiana.
All long-term care facilities, including nursing facilities and assisted living communities, are being asked to double down on and strengthen infection prevention and control protocols at this important juncture, including screening staff at the start of each shift for symptoms; screening residents daily; ensuring staff, residents, and visitors wash their hands/utilize alcohol-based hand sanitizer regularly; and ensuring staff and visitors wear their masks at all times. All long-term care personnel should be reminded that any social gathering is a risk and social distancing and mask wearing is essential.
If staff are showing any symptoms, such as a sore throat, they should stay home and seek a COVID-19 test before returning to work. Staffing shortages should be reported to ISDH for their awareness and consideration in scheduling surveys. Staffing shortages also should be updated in NHSN.
In the immediate term, ISDH reiterated that the health care volunteer network developed early on in the pandemic is available for long-term care facilities to access. Facilities are encouraged to use this resource and can do so with the following form. Coming soon IHCA expects the ISDH to help with a transition of PCAs to CNAs, provide a quicker pathway for persons to be come CNAs, and will issue guidance that clarifies that any staff member may conduct antigen testing if the staff member has been trained, so as to ensure RNs and LPNs can focus on resident care.
For ISDH’s latest Infection Control Standard Operating Procedure, please click here, and for ISDH’s latest Long-Term Care Toolkit, please click here. IHCA/INCAL will continue to work with ISDH leadership on infection prevention and control resources and hope to have more to report on this soon, such as video resources and updates on the common sources of community spread.
Upcoming surveys will likely reflect ISDH’s request for all long-term care facilities to double down and strengthen infection prevention and control protocols, although IHCA/INCAL has asked ISDH to allow facilities experiencing outbreaks to focus on resident care.
If you have questions, please do not hesitate to contact any member of our team.