To: Mass Senior Care Members
From: Tara M. Gregorio, President
Re: COVID-19 Updates: Public Health Emergency Extended; CMS Releases FAQ for POC Testing Instrument; Governor Baker Issues Travel Order
Date: July 24, 2020
Public Health Emergency Extended
Yesterday, HHS formally extended the COVID-19 pandemic Public Health Emergency for another 90 days. The extension ensures that the COVID-19 related regulatory and reimbursement blanket waivers are extended. This includes waivers of staff training requirements, the 3-day stay and spell of illness.
CMS Releases FAQ for POC Testing Instrument
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recently announced that it will begin providing nursing homes with a Point of Care (POC) rapid response testing instrument to bolster each facility’s ability to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The data collected through the NHSN system directly supports this initiative by helping to prioritize those nursing homes with testing needs and an increasing number of cases. CMS has also provided information about their methodology for prioritizing facilities and a listing of the facilities, as well as a list of frequently asked questions.
Governor Baker Issues Travel Order
Today Governor Baker announced that effective August 1st, all travelers entering Massachusetts—both out of state residents and Massachusetts residents returning home—must comply with a new travel order. This includes students returning to campuses for the fall semester.
The new travel order requires all visitors and returning residents to fill out a “Massachusetts Traveler Form” unless they are coming from a state that has been designated a lower risk COVID-19 state or fall into an exemption category. The new travel order also provides that visitors and returning residents arriving in Massachusetts from any place other than a COVID-19 lower-risk state must quarantine for 14-days unless they can produce a negative COVID-19 test result administered on a sample taken not more than 72-hours prior to arriving in Massachusetts.
More details on this order will be posted and available at mass.gov/matraveler.