PA DOH: Update on Testing Guidance for COVID-19 in Long-term Care Facilities Residents and Healthcare Personnel

On May 29, the Pennsylvania Department of Health released the following update on their guidance concerning COVID-19 testing in long-term care facility residents:


  • The Department is providing updated guidance for testing in long-term care facility (LTCF) residents. This guidance applies to a wide range of settings and is not limited to skilled nursing facilities.
  • Updates to the guidance bring a renewed focus on:
    • Keeping COVID-19 out of the facility by conducting baseline testing of all staff and residents
    • Detecting cases quickly with facility-wide testing upon detection of a new case in a resident or HCP
    • Stopping transmission by continuing weekly testing of all residents and staff through at least 14 days since most recent positive result
  • Facilities performing universal testing must have a plan for testing that includes
    • Access to testing with a rapid turnaround-time
    • Resident cohorting and staffing plan
    • Applicable items discussed on pages 5-6
  • The guidance in this health alert network message represents recommended best practices and does not replace or supersede formal Orders.

Long-term care facility (LTCF) residents are at high risk for infection, serious illness, and death from COVID-19. Testing is one strategy to help inform prevention and control measures in the facility. The Department has developed these guidelines as an update to PA-HAN-508 to expand upon the CDC Interim Testing Guidance in Response to Suspected or Confirmed COVID-19 in Nursing Home Residents and Healthcare Personnel. This guidance supersedes PA-HAN-508. If you have questions about this guidance, please contact DOH at 1-877-PA-HEALTH (1-877-724-3258) or your local health department.

Click here to view the entire health update.

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