West Virginia Updates Nursing Home Reopening Guidance

By: Andrew P. Smith, Anders W. Lindberg

Published: August 28, 2020

Recently, the Office of Health Facility Licensure & Certification and Department of Health and Human Resources released new developments related to COVID-19 in nursing homes, including reopening/community spread guidance, surveys, antigen testing, and vaccine preparations.

Reopening / Community Spread

Long-term care (LTC) facilities will use the same maps and color coding system developed by the state for the School Alert System for public notification of community spread. The DHHR County Spread Alert map is a daily alert map reflecting county community spread. If at any time a county turns red, facilities must stop visitation and enter the reopening PHASE RED.

The Department of Education School and School Activities Map (released every Saturday evening) is a weekly map guiding visitation for the oncoming week. If the county is in orange or higher, then no visitation, and enter PHASE ORANGE (or PHASE RED if county is in red). A link to this weekly school map will also be placed on the WV Healthcare Association website.

The revised Reopening Guidance and Community Spread status went into effect at midnight on August 24. Click here to read the reopening plan.

Antigen Testing

There is a White House initiative to put antigen testing equipment in every nursing home. Initial distribution has begun, with several facilities in West Virginia having received their equipment.

Vaccine Information

LTC providers and residents may be among the first recipients of the vaccine. To gauge community preparedness for distribution, WVDHHR has developed a

Vaccine Preparedness Survey.

To assist the state with determining the number of vaccines, and to help prioritize vaccine recipients, each facility will also need to complete a staff and resident demographics survey. Each facility must be enrolled in the West Virginia Statewide Immunization Information System to receive and disseminate the vaccine.

The current timeline calls for the vaccination plan to be submitted to the state by September 10. The state will submit the plan to the CDC by Oct 1. Initiation of mass distribution will begin between November and December. The date for vaccine implementation is still TBD.

Please contact one of the authors of this alert to discuss how these guidelines might affect your business.

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