Updated January 11, 2023
Updated September 22, 2022
Information on use of the Bivalent Vaccine in Long Term Care from Connecticut Department of Public Health
Updated June 13, 2022
At iCare we are working closely and continuously with the Department of Public Health (DPH), taking guidance from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and others, to make our care centers as safe, comfortable, welcoming and effective as possible. We modify and augment our extensive response guide and refine our policies whenever new information becomes available.
CDC recommendations support that new admissions that are not up to date with vaccination should be placed on quarantine for 7-10 days. Residents admitted that are up to date with vaccination do not need to be placed on precautions upon admission. The term and guidance on what is considered “up to date” is found on the CDC link dated May 24, 2022. (Definition of up to date: You are up to date with your COVID-19 vaccines when you have received all doses in the primary series and all boosters recommended for you, when eligible).
All new admissions regardless of vaccination status and those that leave the facility for greater than 24 hours should be tested immediately and if negative again in 5-7 days. The first day of admission to your facility is considered day zero.
Residents can be removed from Transmission-Based Precautions after day ten following the exposure (day zero) if they do not develop symptoms. Although the residual risk of infection is low, healthcare providers could consider testing for SARS-CoV-2 within 48 hours before the time of planned discontinuation of Transmission-Based Precautions.
Residents can be removed from Transmission-Based Precautions after day seven following exposure (day zero) if a viral test is negative for SARS-CoV-2 and they do not develop symptoms. The specimen should be collected and tested within 48 hours before the time of planned discontinuation of Transmission-Based Precautions.
Staff testing is based on the county COVID-19 level of community transmission and vaccine status. This can be found on https://covid.cdc.gov/covid-data-tracker/#datatracker-home Nursing home data is found by choosing your county, choosing the drop down box that says data type and choosing the option for community transmission. You can hover over the map and see your community transmission rate per your county. Other circumstances may require additional staff and resident testing.
The conditions and rules related to COVID seem to evolve and change almost every day. This is especially true in skilled nursing care centers across the State and country. However, it is important to note that the COVID infection rate in Connecticut nursing homes is LESS than the infection rate in the general population. Skilled nursing care centers are a safe place to receive the care you or your loved one need at this time.
Staff are required to wear surgical masks while working in the care center at this time. Eye protection should or may be worn in patient care areas. CDC provides guidance on areas in a nursing home that may not require masking based on community transmission. All staff and visitors should be wearing well-fitted surgical masks at all times. N95 respirators are still required for staff working on observation units and COVID positive units and with certain aerosolizing medical procedures such as nebulizers, CPAP and BiPAP.
Visitor Testing and Vaccination per CMS QSO 20-39
While not required, we encourage facilities in counties with substantial or high levels of community transmission to offer testing to visitors, if feasible. If facilities do not offer testing, they should encourage visitors to be tested on their own before coming to the facility (e.g., within2–3 days).
CMS strongly encourages all visitors to become vaccinated and facilities should educate and also encourage visitors to become vaccinated. Visitor testing and vaccination can help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and facilities may ask about a visitors’ vaccination status, however, visitors are not required to be tested or vaccinated (or show proof of such) as a condition of visitation. If the visitor declines to disclose their vaccination status, the visitor should wear a face covering or mask at all times.
So what can you or your loved one expect if you are admitted to an iCare center for skilled nursing care today?
Outdoor visitation with residents has been in place for quite some time at all iCare centers. These outside visits are available seven days a week.
Indoor visitation is available at all iCare Health Network centers. Masks shall be worn in common areas of the care center but may be removed in close contact with your loved one at your discretion.
- Residents are cohorted (grouped together) by their COVID status to prevent or contain the spread of infection should a new case arise. Currently the basic cohorts are (1) unvaccinated residents who have not been infected within the last 90 days; (2) vaccinated and recently recovered residents; (3) a separate and distinct cohort for new, unvaccinated residents (or those who have not received a booster) under observation; (4) positive residents if applicable.
- Newly admitted, unvaccinated residents will be re-tested for COVID upon arrival and be treated with full infection control precautions for 7-14 days.
- Ongoing COVID testing of residents and staff will continue with a frequency set by CDC and DPH guidelines and based on a number of prevalence factors.
- Residents and family members can expect a clear, obvious and persistent use of personal protective equipment and COVID testing to continue for the health and safety of all.
COVID-19 Vaccine: FAQs, Informational Slides and List of Resources
Update September 22, 2022
What to Expect When You or a Loved One is Admitted to an iCare Center Today
Skilled nursing care centers are a safe place to receive the care you or your loved one need
Indoor Visitation During COVID-19
Updated: June 13, 2022
Send a personal message to a resident or healthcare hero
How You Can Help
Every little bit helps
A Thank You to Healthcare Heroes
A Letter from Chris Wright, President and CEO
Trusted Online Resources
Reputable sources of information during the COVID crisis