Begin Main Content Area

DHS COVID-19 PROVIDER GUIDANCE // ODP

ODP Announcement 20-068:
Applying Department of Health Testing Guidance for Long-Term Care Facilities’ Residents and Healthcare Personnel to Community and Life Sharing Homes

Audience

Providers licensed pursuant to 55 Pa.Code Chapters 6400 (Relating to Community Homes for Individuals with an Intellectual Disability) and 6500 (Relating to Life Sharing Homes).

Purpose

This announcement provides guidance to Community and Life Sharing Home providers about how to apply COVID-19 testing guidance issued by the Pennsylvania Department of Health (DOH).

Discussion

On June 1, 2020, PA DOH released 2020 – PAHAN -509-5-29-UPD UPDATE: Testing Guidance for COVID-19 in Long-term Care Facilities Residents and Healthcare Personnel. This guidance is targeted to large congregate-care settings such as skilled nursing facilities and Intermediate Care Facilities for Individuals with an Intellectual Disability and does not specifically reference Community and Life Sharing Homes. However, some of the guidance provided can be applied to Community and Life Sharing Homes. 

Note that testing conducted as below should be implemented in addition to existing infection prevention and control measures recommended by the DOH, including visitor restriction, cessation of communal dining and group activities, monitoring all individuals and staff for signs and symptoms of COVID-19, and universal masking as source control.

New Confirmed Cases — Individuals

If an individual in a Community Home has a new confirmed case of COVID-19 infection, the provider should: 

• Consider all individuals and staff who have resided or worked in the home in the 48 hours prior to the individual becoming symptomatic as “potentially exposed.” Additionally, any other persons with brief visits to the home should be considered potentially exposed if they were within 6 feet of others in the home for 15 minutes or more. 

    • If the individual was asymptomatic at the time they are confirmed with COVID-19: 
        • Consider all individuals and staff who have been in the home where the confirmed COVID-19 individual was present beginning 2 days after the positive individual’s own exposure had occurred as “potentially exposed.” 
        • If the individual’s date of exposure cannot be determined, consider individuals and staff who had contact with the individual confirmed with COVID-19 within 48 hours prior to the date of the positive test as “potentially exposed.” 
    • Test all individuals and staff that are considered potentially exposed, as above, for the presence of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. 
    • The above individuals should be tested even if baseline testing has been conducted in the past. 
    • Do not retest any individuals or staff with a history of confirmed COVID-19. 

Note: The provider should also test all individuals and staff who were potentially exposed if: 

    • An individual is suspected (i.e. not confirmed) to have COVID-19, and 
    • The individual’s test results will not be available for two or more days following the date of the test. 

Occasionally, test results may return as inconclusive or indeterminant result. When this occurs, another test should be completed as soon as possible, and the individual should continue to be treated as potentially exposed.