COVID-19 Long-Term Care Advisory for Healthcare Providers

Updated Guidance on Response to COVID-19 Cases in Long Term Care Facilities

Posted March 15, 2022. Past health advisories and alerts are archived for historical purposes and are not maintained or updated.


The purpose of this SRHD Health Advisory is to notify providers of recently updated guidance from the Washington State Department of Health (DOH) on response to COVID-19 Cases in Long Term Care Facilities.

  1. DOH Safe Start Guidance replaced by Long Term Care COVID Response guidance:
    DOH replaced the SAFE START Guidance with Long Term Care COVID Response, which includes a detailed description of updated guidelines for visitation policies: AFH-ALF-ESF COVID Response Guidance. Long term care WA DOH guidance page: Infection Prevention :: Washington State Department of Health under “Long Term Care."
  2. Update on guidance on admitting new patients to facilities during an outbreak
    The ability to admit residents from hospitals to long-term care facilities (LTC) must be maintained to ensure adequate hospital capacity and continuity of care for residents. Long-term care facilities should follow CDC's Interim Infection Prevention and Control Recommendations to Prevent SARS-CoV-2 Spread in Nursing Homes. A pause in admissions was previously recommended if a case of COVID-19 is detected in the facility; a pause is no longer recommended as long as the LTC is safely able to provide the appropriate level of care. Facilities should notify the resident to be admitted (or guardian/POA) of the COVID status in the facility. The updated guidance is available at: LTC admissions guidance
  3. Updated DOH definition for a COVID outbreak in a long term care facilities
    DOH updated the outbreak definition for long term care facilities, as described here: Interim COVID-19 Outbreak Definition for Healthcare Settings (wa.gov)
    A COVID outbreak in a LTC is defined as one or more facility-acquired COVID-19 cases in a resident.
    IMPORTANT CLARIFICATION:
    *ALL POSITIVE CASES (STAFF AND RESIDENTS) must still be reported to SRHD and DSHS, regardless of whether the facility is in an outbreak. Positive cases should be reported to SRHD by Long Term Care facilities using this encrypted webform: SRHD Long Term Care COVID Case Report Form.
  4. Guidance for Assisted Living facilities on routine COVID testing (SRHD update)
    Due to testing supply shortages, SRHD is no longer requiring twice weekly surveillance testing of Assisted Living and Memory Care staff. Assisted Living and Memory Care facilities are encouraged to test staff as resources allow – prioritizing tests for staff with patient contact and those who are not up to date on their COVID-19 vaccines. More information on COVID testing in long term care facilities is available at: Long-Term Care Facility Testing for Staff and Residents (wa.gov)