PA DOH: Update – Discontinuation of Transmission-Based Precautions for Patients with COVID-19

The Pennsylvania Department of Health released the following COVID-19 update on February 23, 2021:

Updates were made to the CDC guidance for discontinuing Transmission-Based Precautions on February 16, 2021. These changes include:

  • Patients who are severely immunocompromised could remain infectious more than 20 days after symptom onset. For these patients:
    • Consultation with infectious diseases and infection prevention and control specialists is recommended.
    • Consider use of a test-based strategy for determining when to discontinue Transmission-Based Precautions.

Transmission-Based Precautions are used by healthcare facilities to care for patients with confirmed or probable COVID-19, or in response to known or suspected exposure to COVID-19 according to PA-HAN-524 and CDC guidelines. These guidelines apply to healthcare facilities where Transmission-Based Precautions are used. This HAN replaces PA-HAN-517. For persons with COVID-19 that are undergoing home-based isolation, please refer to CDC Guidance. If you have questions about this guidance, please contact DOH at 1-877-PA-HEALTH (1-877-724-3258) or your local health department.

All guidelines for discontinuing Transmission-Based Precautions in this HAN are in reference to COVID-19 Transmission-Based Precautions. Continue the use of Standard Precautions for all patients and residents. Continue the use of Transmission-Based Precautions for other conditions as per facility policy (e.g. for C. difficile or drug-resistant organisms).

The decision to discontinue Transmission-Based Precautions for patients with confirmed COVID-19 should be made using a symptom-based strategy as described below. Meeting criteria for discontinuation of Transmission-Based Precautions is not a prerequisite for discharge from a healthcare facility.

A test-based strategy is not recommended (except as noted below) because, in the majority of cases, it results in prolonged isolation of patients who continue to shed detectable SARS-CoV-2 RNA but are no longer infectious.

For the entire health update, click here.

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