Kentucky’s long term care facilities will have regular COVID testing

Coronavirus Watch

FRANKFORT, Ky (WEHT) Following new guidance from the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), Secretary Eric Friedlander of the Cabinet for Health & Family Services announced Monday a COVID-19 test scheduling system for long term care facilities.

Effective Thursday, long term care facilities will use the color coded COVID-19 incident map to determine how often testing will occur.

Green and yellow counties will test every two weeks. Facilities in orange counties will test once a week, and red counties must test twice a week.

“To save lives, Gov. Beshear took decisive, swift action in March, issuing an executive order, stopping most visitation in long-term care facilities,” Secretary Friedlander said.

“New guidance is allowing the use of the same COVID-19 county positivity rate information that school districts are using to determine whether in-person learning is recommended,” Secretary Friedlander said. “Long-term care facilities are also using this data to determine the degree to which indoor visitation can take place. As long as no new cases have been confirmed in the previous two weeks, visitation can be expanded to more than end-of-life visits.”

He also said restrictions on physical touching and communal dining will be eased, while robust testing of staffers, providers and vendors will continue.

Secretary Friedlander said CMS also has approved use of Civil Monetary Penalty funds to purchase tents for outdoor visitation and/or clear dividers to create physical barriers to reduce the risk of transmission of the coronavirus.

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(This story was originally published on September 21, 2020)

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