CDC Modifies Quarantine and Visitation Guidance

This week​, the CDC ​released new guidance on healthcare infection prevention and control recommendations in response to COVID-19 vaccinations. This guidance modifies certain restrictions in long term care and serve as the basis for recent changes to CMS' visitation guidance. Importantly, this guidance recommends that fully vaccinated new admissions no longer need to quarantine upon admission to the facility.

Key changes in this guidance impacting long term care include:

  • Indoor visitation is permitted, consistent with CMS guidance, except in the following circumstances where only compassionate care visits apply:
    • For unvaccinated residents if the COVID-19 county positivity rate is more than 10% AND less 70% of residents in the facility are fully vaccinated.
    • For any resident who has an active COVID-19 infection until they have met criteria to discontinue Transmission-Based Precautions (regardless of vaccination status)
    • For any resident in quarantine (regardless of vaccination status)
  • Fully vaccinated healthcare workers who are asymptomatic are no longer required to quarantine (e.g., be restricted from work for 14 days) after an exposure to COVID-19, except:
    • For immunocompromised healthcare workers who may be at greater risk
  • Fully vaccinated residents should continue to quarantine after an exposure to COVID-19
    • The CDC does indicate that healthcare facilities could consider waiving this quarantine to address critical issues (e.g., lack of space or PPE) but that this decision should be made with public health officials and other experts.​
  • Fully vaccinated new admissions to a post-acute care facility who also do not have a known exposure to COVID-19 in the prior 14 days no longer need to be kept in isolation.
CDC makes additional recommendations on best practices for facilitating visitation which are important for members to review.

Recommendations for testing and PPE use remain unchanged.

It's important to remember that all long-term care facilities are required to follow applicable CMS, state and local guidance and regulations, which may differ from CDC guidance. Skilled nursing facilities must follow the recent CMS visitation guidance, outlined here.