Governor Gavin Newsom has outlined steps California is taking to protect the residents and employees of the more than 1,224 skilled nursing facilities and 7,461 residential care facilities across the state. Building on the state’s early action to protect these facilities, California has trained and is deploying 600 nurses to support compliance with COVID-19 guidance, and state staff is calling nursing homes across the state daily to provide support.
“Protecting California’s most vulnerable residents and the employees is a top priority – not only to protect public health but because it’s the right thing to do,” said Governor Newsom. “Older Californians and those who are medically fragile are at higher risk of becoming seriously ill due to COVID-19, which is why we took early action to restrict visitors to these facilities. Now we are providing even more support for these facilities, their residents, and staff who serve them.”
Recognizing the threat to these medically fragile individuals, the state last month restricted visitors to these facilities except for end-of-life and other rare circumstances. Before COVID-19 had spread widely in the community in California, the Department of Public Health and the Department of Social Services issued guidance and offered trainings on infection control. And the Departments jointly deployed strike teams of infection control specialists to counties, nursing homes and residential care facilities for the elderly to provide one-on-one technical support and expertise.
The Governor also announced that the USNS Mercy will be taking non-COVID-19 patients to help decompress skilled nursing facilities in the Los Angeles area.
To further protect vulnerable Californians, California is:
- Retraining 600 nurses to support facility compliance with COVID-19 guidance and to assist facilities with positive cases;
- Working to decompress facilities to help slow the potential spread of COVID-19 in these facilities and create facilities specifically for positive patients;
- Reaching out proactively to each skilled nursing facility on a daily basis to assess their specific needs and identify and address any challenges early on;
- Prioritizing testing for patients discharged from a hospital to a skilled nursing facility to ensure patients who test positive are transferred to a facility that can safely provide care to the residents and also protect COVID-19 negative residents. California will also prioritize the testing of symptomatic residents and potentially exposed residents to ensure they are immediately isolated;
- Prioritizing personal protective equipment to facilities with COVID-19 positive staff or residents and facilities that are at increased risk to COVID-19;
- Providing stipends to certified nurse assistants, licensed vocational nurses and other critical staff at nursing homes to make sure their needs are met. A previously announced Facebook donation of up to $25 million available to provide $500 stipends to up to 50,000 nursing home workers;
- Offering no-cost or low-cost hotel rooms for workers who have had possible exposure to COVID-19 or test positive for COVID-19 and do not need to be hospitalized; and
- Ensuring that families of nursing home residents are informed and educated on COVID-19 safety protections for their loved ones.
Learn more about the state’s ongoing COVID-19 response efforts here. Visit covid19.ca.gov for critical steps Californians can take to stay healthy, and resources available to those impacted by the outbreak.
I want you to know that 6Beds is aware of the challenges being faced by providers as it relates to shortages of food and supplies as we deal with COVID-19. We know that local grocery stores and other retailers are subjecting residential care facility owners/operators to the same quotas as individual households.
6Beds has been in direct contact with the highest levels of Community Care Licensing (CCL) to report to them the on-the-ground challenges that facilities are facing with regard to the shortage of food and supplies. In turn, CCL is in direct contact with the Governor’s Office in regards to a potential solution.
We will notify you as soon as any solution is announced. In preparation for a potential solution specific to residential care facilities, please make a copy of each of your facility licenses or take a picture with your smartphone of each of your facility licenses that you can show grocers and other retailers.
On Friday March 14, 2020, Community Care Licensing (CCL) issued the following Provider Information Notice (PIN) 20-07-ASC: PREVENTION, CONTAINMENT, MITIGATION MEASURES, AND STATEWIDE WAIVER FOR CORONAVIRUS DISEASE 2019 (COVID-19).
Earlier on Friday March 14, 2020, CMS issued the following guidance pertaining to visitors at nursing facilities.
Restrictions on Visitors to Assisted Living
At Governor Newsom’s press conference on Sunday March 15, 2020, he announced a prohibition on visitors to Assisted Living and Skilled Nursing Facilities, except in end-of-life situations. We are awaiting official written direction, but while that is still pending, we want to get this information to you right away. As soon as the written directive is available, we will forward it to you.
Self-Isolation for Those Over 65
The Governor’s directive also included that all persons 65 and older should self-isolate, which should apply to most residents of Residential Care Facilities for the Elderly (RCFEs).
6Beds will continue to monitor the situation and the impact on Residential Care Facilities for the Elderly (RCFEs) and Adult Residential Facilities (ARFs) in California. It is also advisable to consult your local public health department for any specific guidance applicable in your local community.
There is no specific treatment currently for Coronavirus. Most infected people will recover on their own. If you or a family member have traveled recently to an erase of risk, or if you think you may have been exposed to the virus and have symptoms of respiratory illness, you should call your healthcare provider or the advice number on your health insurance card for further instructions.
Coronavirus usually causes an upper respiratory tract illness like the common cold. Patients with this new coronavirus have had mild to severe respiratory illness with symptoms of fever, cough, and shortness of breath according to the CDC.
It’s still cold and flu season, and the same practices that stop the spread of these common illnesses are recommended:
- Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with people who are at risk.
- Stay home if you are sick, except to get medical care.
- Cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue away and wash your hands.
- Clean and disinfect objects and surfaces you touch.
Coronavirus Resource & Links:
Information about COVID-19 in the United States
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Coronavirus advisory information
World Health Organization
World Health Organization
Source: Kaiser Permanente