Earlier this month, the Department of Health Services (DHS) published Assisted Living COVID-19 Testing Guidance based on the State of Wisconsin Testing Framework, P-02709. This guidance is published at DHS COVID-19: Assisted Living.
The state testing framework describes the state’s containment strategy, known as “Box it in” and focuses on supporting and sustaining local capacity for testing, tracing, isolation, and quarantine. Testing and contact tracing are vital to identify where further isolation and quarantine efforts are needed.
Based on the Assisted Living COVID-19 Testing Guidance, facilities should develop plans to:
- Ensure testing of residents or staff with symptoms of COVID-19 and any residents or staff who have had close contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19.
- Ensure notification to local/tribal public health department to coordinate facility wide testing if an outbreak occurs (defined as 1 or more staff or residents that tests positive).
- To prepare for the possibility of outbreak testing, facilities should review the asymptomatic testing information outlined in the Assisted Living COVID-19 Testing Guidance.
- Facilities may also contact their local/tribal public health department to identify community resources if they anticipate they will need assistance with sample collection.
The most effective way to mitigate the harm of COVID-19 is prevention. Assisted living facilities are encouraged to regularly review DHS guidance published at COVID-19 Assisted Living for information to assist facilities in improving their infection prevention and control practices to prevent the transmission of COVID-19 and keep residents and the staff who care for them safe from infection.