On Friday, September 23, 2022, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released updates to COVID-19 recommendations for healthcare settings providers have been waiting to receive. These recommendations take effect immediately, and CMS has updated nursing home requirements and sub-regulatory guidance through memos (QSO-20-38-NH and QSO-20-9-NH).
The key updates in the recommendations include:
- Vaccination status is no longer used to inform source control, screening testing, or post-exposure recommendations
- Nursing home-specific guidance that recommended more stringent mitigation measures for nursing homes than other healthcare settings were retired – setting-specific recommendations have been added to Section 3 of the main guidance
Other changes include:
- Updated circumstances when the use of source control is recommended
- Updated circumstances when universal use of personal protective equipment should be considered
- Updated recommendations for testing frequency to detect potential for variants with shorter incubation periods and to address the risk for false negative antigen tests in people without symptoms.
- Clarified that screening testing of asymptomatic healthcare personnel, including those in nursing homes, is at the discretion of the healthcare facility
- Updated to note that, in general, asymptomatic patients no longer require empiric use of Transmission-Based Precautions following close contact with someone with SARS-CoV-2 infection.
- Archived the Interim Infection Prevention and Control Recommendations to Prevent SARS-CoV-2 Spread in Nursing Homes and special considerations for nursing homes not otherwise covered in Sections 1 and 2 were added to Section 3: Setting-specific considerations
- Updated screening testing recommendations for nursing home admissions
- Clarified the types of long-term care settings for whom the healthcare infection prevention and control recommendations apply