Division of Public Health Guidance for Hospitals and Long Term Care Facilities

DHS Logo Original 07/11/2018

Division of Quality Assurance: Notifications & Updates

Attn: Nursing Home Providers

Clarification regarding 14-Day Observation for Residents of Long-Term Care Facilities

The Wisconsin Division of Public Health (DPH) and Division of Quality Assurance (DQA) are providing this update regarding the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance for Responding to COVID-19 in Long-Term Care Facilities (LTCFs).  CDC guidance states that facilities should create a plan for managing new admissions and readmissions whose COVID-19 status is unknown. Options include placement in a single room or in a separate observation area so the resident can be monitored for evidence of COVID-19. 

Additionally CDC guidance recommends the following:

  • All recommended COVID-19 PPE should be worn during care of residents under observation, which includes use of an N95 or higher-level respirator (or facemask if a respirator is not available), eye protection (i.e., goggles or a disposable face shield that covers the front and sides of the face), gloves, and gown.
  • Testing residents upon admission could identify those who are infected but otherwise without symptoms and might help direct placement of asymptomatic SARS-CoV-2-infected residents into the COVID-19 care unit. However, a single negative test upon admission does not mean that the resident was not exposed or will not become infected in the future.  Newly admitted or readmitted residents should still be monitored for evidence of COVID-19 for 14 days after admission and cared for using all recommended COVID-19 PPE.

The above recommendations are reflected in the Tele-ICAR document found on the COVID-19: Long-Term Care Facilities and Services page under the Guidance for all Facilities tab.  See the ICAR Assessment Tool.  This information can also be found on the COV ID-19: Health Care Providers page under the Infection Preventionist tab.

Wisconsin DPH and DQA use CDC guidance and recommendations to inform prevention and response activities in LTCFs.  The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) follow guidance provided by CDC.