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Urgent: ISDH Issues Nursing Facility Staff COVID-19 Testing Dates and FAQ

Posted Jun 8, 20203 min Read

Regulatory & Clinical

The morning of June 8, 2020, the Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH) shared a frequently asked questions (FAQs) document with IHCA/INCAL, detailing the state’s COVID-19 testing effort of nursing facility staff throughout June.  Although an ISDH Commissioner Order has not been issued, the FAQ document states that the testing effort throughout June is a mandate and includes all staff and contract employees of a nursing facility, including those not involved in direct patient care.  However, the FAQ states that if a staff member refuses to participate, the nursing facility should record the refusal and the corresponding reason in order to provide that information to ISDH.

We expect the FAQ document to be released in ISDH’s LTC newsletter either today or tomorrow.

ISDH has also provided timeline information regarding this testing effort:

  • For those nursing facilities that selected the option to have testing kits delivered to the facility, onsite delivery will occur between June 10 – June 22, 2020, although no activity will occur on Sundays during this time period.  Following delivery of the testing kits, the nursing facility must collect all samples within twenty-four (24) hours of receiving the testing kits in order to maintain the integrity of the samples.  ISDH will then return to collect the samples for processing.
  • For those nursing facilities that selected the option of onsite testing being conducted at the facility, onsite testing will occur between June 23 – June 28, 2020.  The onsite testing will occur over a four (4) hour period.
  • ISDH will begin reaching out to nursing facilities this week to notify them of the date selected for their facility for either the testing kits to be delivered or onsite testing to be conducted.
  • After the testing kits are collected or onsite testing is conducted, results are expected within five (5) to seven (7) days.

Nursing facilities will be responsible for testing those staff members who are not present when the testing kits are available or onsite testing is being conducted by the state by June 30, 2020.  Only those staff members who were tested earlier in June or who previously tested positive for COVID-19 through a viral PCR test are exempt.  ISDH has asked that staff not visit sister-facilities to be tested to ensure results are reported back to the proper facility.  Nursing facilities are instead encouraged to utilize their own lab relationships and/or to utilize external testing sites.  The state offers free testing for long-term care employees that do not have health insurance at OptumServe testing sites.  To find a site nearest you, please click here.

Please note, test results from external testing sites are typically available within 72 hours and are reported directly to the individual tested, although ISDH is working on a method for these tests to also be included in the nursing facility’s data.  Nursing facilities are encouraged to develop a protocol for staff to report to the facility that their test has been completed and if the result is positive, if the results are not being reported directly to the facility.