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EDMUND G. BROWN JR.
Governor

State of California—Health and Human Services Agency
California Department of Public Health


AFL 23-36
December 5, 2023


TO:
Skilled Nursing Facilities (SNFs)

SUBJECT:
Recommendations for Prevention and Control of COVID-19, Influenza, and Other Respiratory Viral Infections in California Skilled Nursing Facilities – 2023-24

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​All Fa​cilities Letter (AFL) Summary

This AFL notifies facilities of an updated version of the guidance document “Recommendations for Prevention and Control of COVID-19, Influenza, and Other Respiratory Viral Infections in California Skilled Nursing Facilities – 2023-24​" (PDF), which includes streamlined guidance that can be broadly applied for the prevention and control of influenza, COVID-19, RSV, and other common respiratory viruses (e.g., adenovirus, parainfluenza virus, etc.) in California SNFs.

​SNF residents remain at increased risk for severe disease, hospitalization, death, and outbreaks caused by SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19), influenza, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), and other respiratory viruses. In this year's updated guidance for SNFs, CDPH provides streamlined guidance that can be broadly applied for the prevention and control of these respiratory viruses. SNFs should review the updated “Recommendations for Prevention and Control of COVID-19, Influenza, and Other Respiratory Viral Infections in California Skilled Nursing Facilities – 2023-24" (PDF) to ensure readiness for the upcoming winter respiratory virus season. 

Key messages include:

  1. Encourage residents and healthcare personnel (HCP) to be up-to-date on recommended vaccinations to prevent morbidity and mortality from respiratory infections in SNFs.
  2. Develop policies for source control masking with well-fitting facemasks or respirators that cover a person's mouth and nose to reduce respiratory virus transmission in healthcare settings.
  3. Initiate prompt testing and treatment of COVID-19 and influenza to reduce the risk of severe illness, hospitalization, and death.

To help SNFs prepare to identify and respond to increases in SARS-CoV-2 circulation during the upcoming winter, CDPH is providing free at-home COVID-19 tests for SNFs to provide to residents, staff, and visitors who have symptoms. SNFs may order a 16-week supply (facilities with storage limitations may request smaller amounts monthly) on the CDPH At-Home (OTC) COVID-19 Test Order webpage by February 29, 2024​. For more information, refer to the SNF/Elder Care/Long Term Care At-Home Testing Resources (PDF).  

Establishing or maintaining lines of communication between SNFs and their local health department will help facilitate support in the event of an outbreak, vaccine or antiviral agent shortage, or testing and personal protective equipment supply needs.  SNFs must report outbreaks to their local health department and Licensing and Certification (L&C) district office.

For testing-related questions, please contact OTCtesting@cdph.ca.gov. For other questions about this AFL, please contact the CDPH Healthcare-Associated Infections Program at HAIProgram@cdph.ca.gov.

 

Sincerely,

Original signed by Cassie Dunham

Cassie Dunham

Deputy Director​



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