DOH Updates COVID-19 Testing Requirements Previously in Place for Nursing Homes and Contractors Like Home Care 

Situation Report | November 16, 2020

The state Department of Health (DOH) is now requiring all nursing homes in red, orange or yellow zones to test or make arrangements to test all personnel twice per week (instead of once per week) — a requirement that may affect some home care and hospice providers who serve nursing home patients.

This latest directive follows Executive Order 202.73 requiring the operators and administrators of all nursing homes to test or make arrangements for the testing of all personnel, including all employees, contract staff, medical staff, operators and administrators, for COVID-19. In the past, DOH has interpreted contract staff to include home care and hospice workers who are providing services to nursing home residents.

The guidance also clarifies an October 23 advisory limiting visits to nursing homes, stressing that visitation in red and orange zones is suspended except for in the following instances: compassionate care (i.e., end-of-life, hospice situations) medically or clinically necessary care (i.e., a visitor is essential to the care of the patient as determined by the facility and treating provider), and necessary legal representatives.

Information on red, orange and yellow zones is in Executive Order 202.68