Long-Term Care Facilities

Long-term care facilities serve vulnerable populations that are at higher risk of contracting COVID-19. Residents’ age and health status put them at greater risk for severe COVID-19 complications and potential death. COVID-19 can quickly spread in congregate care settings. 

Benton-Franklin Health District has been working with these facilities throughout the county to ensure strong infection control guidance, availability of testing, and other measures to identify cases and minimize the spread of disease and protect these vulnerable populations. 

Current Visitation Phases 

LTC  visiting phases
















Definitions
Compassionate Care Visits - End of life or psycho-social needs

Window Visits - Closed window visit to be scheduled with facility

Remote Visits - Zoom, Facetime, Skype, etc.

Outdoor Visits - Limit of 2 visitors per day, include masking, physical distancing and hand hygiene in designated outdoor accessible area

Limited Indoor Visits - visit in designated area, scheduled with facility

Normal Visitation - No restrictions


How do the phases work?

Long-term care facility phase status is based upon the general Safe Start plan, but takes additional factors into account. Those additional factors include current COVID county case rate (or disease burden), facility access to testing and personal protective equipment, and virus activity within the facility. 

  • Facilities will be held to Phase 1 if the local COVID case rate per 100,000 residents over 14 days exceeds 75. 
  • To reach Phase 2, the local COVID case rate threshold is 25-75 per 100,000 residents over 14 days. 28 days must have passed since the last positive or suspected client was identified within the facility. Adequate staffing, PPE, cleaning supplies, local hospital capacity are also required. 
  •   To reach Phase 3, the local COVID case rate threshold is 10-25 per 100,000 residents. 28 days must have passed since the last positive or suspected client was identified within the facility. Adequate staffing, PPE, cleaning supplies, local hospital capacity are also required.
  • To reach Phase 4, the local COVID case rate must not exceed 10 per 100,000 residents. 28 days must have passed since the last positive or suspected client was identified within the facility. Adequate staffing, PPE, cleaning supplies, local hospital capacity are also required.
  • Note: facilities may not move beyond their county's Safe Start Phase. Full guidance for each facility type is below in the Resources tab.

What is allowed in each Phase and the requirements to transition into next Phase for LTC facilities

The facility or agency cannot move into the next Safe Start for LTC phase until the county is approved to move into the next Safe Start Phase. The facility or agency must then meet the Safe Start for LTC phase criteria before moving forward.

For example, facilities located in counties in Safe Start Phase 1, cannot move beyond phase 1 of the Safe Start for LTC plan until the county enters Safe Start Phase 2 or greater and the facility meets the LTC phase criteria.

The LHJ or DOH have the authority to return a facility to more restrictive operations in response to any infectious disease and/or COVID-19 outbreak by imposing non-essential visitor restrictions and services defined by the Governor’s Safe Start Plan. 

Retirement Communities & Independent Living Facilities

Retirement communities and independent living facilities, which serve partially or fully retired residents, are not considered health care facilities.  Their residents can generally care for themselves and do not require regular nursing or routine medical assistance. These facilities typically offer community activities, meals, and transportation.

As nonmedical establishments, independent living and retirement communities operate under fewer regulations than skilled nursing and assisted living facilities. The shared communal spaces and activities these facilities offer to their residents can increase the risk of contracting COVID-19.

Independent living and retirement communities must follow the safe start phase of the county they are in. If they include a higher level of care unit such as assisted living, skilled nursing or memory care, they must also follow the Safe Start for LTC. For example, a facility housing both assisted living and independent living must meet the requirements of assisted living. 

Independent living and retirement communities can reduce the risk of serious illness to the older population they serve by:

  • Closing some or all of the communal spaces
  • Screening visitors or restricting visitation
  • Restricting the number of participants in group activities
  • Serving meals or conducting activities in shifts

The CDC provides guidance to these facilities at:

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/retirement/considerations.html

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/retirement/residents.html