CDC UPDATES COVID-19 INFECTION PREVENTION AND CONTROL GUIDANCE
To the relief of providers, the CDC released updates to three guidance documents now available on its website. AHCA has provided a high-level summary of the changes and linked to each guidance for additional information. Many of these changes reflect the tireless work that AHCA members have devoted to advocating for CDC to update.
The agency notes that these updates have been made to reflect the high levels of vaccine- and infection-induced immunity and the availability of effective treatments and prevention tools.
The key changes outlined in the guidance for COVID-19 infection prevention and control update include:
- The CDC no longer uses vaccination status to inform source control, screening testing, or post-exposure (e.g., work restriction, quarantine) recommendations.
- The CDC archived standalone guidance for nursing homes and added any setting-specific recommendations to Section 3 of the main guidance.
UP TO DATE IMPLICATIONS
With the CDC’s recommendation to get the bivalent booster, we understand this may change the definition of up-to-date which has implications for isolation, PPE and testing guidance for residents and staff. AHCA has been in contact with CMS and CDC who are discussing this implication and are setting up some calls for next week. While we wait to hear details back from CMS, this leaves providers to decide how they want to proceed. It appears that immediate action on reclassifying residents and staff's up to date status is not necessary until we hear more from CMS. We would recommend reaching out to your LTC pharmacy to access bivalent vaccine for your residents and staff as soon as feasible.
The recommendations also confirmed that providers may co-administer the bivalent and influenza vaccines without contraindications. Therefore, providers should offer both influenza and COVID-19 vaccines during vaccine clinics if a person is eligible for both.
UPDATED LAB CONTACTS
This updated list of contracting clinical labs for the LTC surveillance testing program includes new contact names & emails for some labs (email addresses appear in blue).
COVID-19 BIVALENT VACCINE BOOSTER APPROVAL
As COVID-19 evolved and created new, more contagious variants of the virus, the Omicron variant emerged quickly becoming the most contagious variant to date. As a result, COVID-19 vaccine manufacturers updated their COVID-19 vaccines with an Omicron-specific component to help restore protection that has waned since previous vaccination. These new “bivalent” vaccines will more effectively fight the Omicron strains of COVID-19.
The FDA has authorized the vaccine and the CDC is recommending both Moderna (for those age 18+) and Pfizer-BioNTech (for those age 12+) bivalent boosters:
Individuals are eligible for a single booster dose if it has been at least two months since they have
- completed primary vaccination, or
- received the most recent booster dose with any authorized or approved monovalent COVID-19 vaccine.
AHCA/NCAL has been meeting with the CDC and LTC pharmacy partners to ensure LTC remains a top priority for access to this booster. Facilities should contact their LTC pharmacies and schedule bivalent booster clinics.
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