NYS Department of Health Updated COVID-19 Guidance for Health Care Providers

NY State Government: Week in Review

The Department of Health (NYSDOH) has issued updated guidance on Infection Prevention and Control Recommendations for Healthcare Personnel During the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Pandemic. The advisory adopts the recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on transmission-based precautions for both patients and health care providers, and recommends that all health care settings adhere to the CDC recommendations. The guidance supersedes and replaces the guidance for transmission-based precautions contained in the May 3, 2021 Health Advisory.

The guidance also updates the pre-elective procedure testing requirements for elective, nonessential procedures by hospitals, ambulatory surgery centers, office-based surgery practices, and diagnostic and treatment centers. The guidance requires SARS-CoV-2 testing for all elective procedures, regardless of the patient’s vaccination status, unless the asymptomatic patient is recovered from laboratory-confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection in the prior 90 days. The guidance establishes the following requirements for compliance with the updated testing requirement:

  • Samples for pre-elective procedure testing should be collected from patients within one calendar day of the elective surgery or procedure, and test results must be received and reviewed before conducting the elective surgery or procedure.
  • Testing can be done using any nucleic acid amplification test (NAAT) or antigen test authorized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
  • Patients may provide the results of at-home COVID-19 tests if the facility has implemented policies and procedures to ensure the patient’s at-home test(s) was performed correctly, on the correct person, in accordance with the package insert instructions and within the one-calendar-day time frame (e.g., photograph of the completed test(s), attestation from the patient).
  • Pre-procedure testing is not required before nonscheduled emergent surgeries or procedures, which are not elective. However, in these situations, a thorough screening and history should be obtained and appropriate precautions implemented. 

The guidance implements additional requirements for health care settings in relation to patient visitation. Specifically, providers must implement the following requirements:

  • Visitors must undergo symptom checks upon entering the facility and must be denied entry if they report symptoms of COVID-19, a positive viral test for SARS-CoV-2 in the prior ten days or close contact with someone with SARS-CoV-2 infection in the prior ten days. Facilities should have an established process to identify and manage individuals with suspected or confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection, regardless of vaccination status (e.g., individual screening upon arrival at the facility or a system through which individuals can self-report any of the above before entering the facility).
  • Once in the facility, visitors should generally remain in the patient’s room throughout the visit, except when directed to leave by hospital staff. When in other areas of the facility outside the patient’s room (e.g., cafeteria, waiting area, restroom), visitors must be appropriately distanced from other patients and staff. Facilities should develop policies and procedures to ensure that visitors adhere to guidance from NYSDOH on use of source control by visitors.
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