Testing NH and ICF/IID Staff and Residents

DHS Logo Original 07/11/2018

Division of Quality Assurance: Notifications & Updates

Attn: Nursing Homes and Intermediate Care Facilities for Individuals with Intellectual Disabilities

Testing NH and ICF/IID Staff and Residents

Wisconsin’s Testing Framework describes the state’s containment strategy, known as “Box it in”, focuses on supporting and sustaining local capacity for testing, tracing, isolation, and quarantine. Testing and contact tracing are vital to identify where further isolation and quarantine efforts are needed. Individuals who live and work in high-risk congregate living facilities, such as nursing homes and Intermediate Care Facilities for Individuals with Intellectual Disabilities (ICF/IID), are most at risk for spreading infection and developing complications from COVID-19. Therefore it is recommended that:

  • Staff in nursing homes and ICF/IIDs receive routine testing every two weeks and
  • Residents tested when they have symptoms and when they are admitted or transfer into the facility. (Note: Facilities should have the mechanisms in place to bill for resident testing as needed.)

Please refer to Retesting Staff and Residents—Guidance for COVID-19 Retesting Following an Initial Point Prevalence Survey (PPS) for more information.

Wisconsin currently purchases limited testing supplies, complete with diagnostic capacity, and is actively working to diversify lab partners. Testing priorities are focused on the overarching principles of:

  • Allocating testing resources to the places that have the greatest impact on public health
  • Maximizing third party reimbursement
  • Being good stewards of the lab resources available

With those principles in mind, Wisconsin intends to provide no cost testing supplies, including diagnostics, for nursing homes and ICF/IIDs, to complete staff testing according to the guidance through the end of this calendar year.

With the current surge in activity level and outbreaks, additional prioritization for community testing and outbreak response needs to occur, so some requests for routine staff testing may be placed temporarily on hold. Requests will be filled as soon as possible. Until then, please work with local health care providers for testing symptomatic staff or residents. Your patience and flexibility is appreciated.

The Department of Health Services (DHS) will continue to provide regular updates as the state testing system continues to develop.

If you have questions or suggestions, please email WI COVID-19 SNF Testing.