Coronavirus

As concerns arise with emerging coronavirus, officially named COVID-19, we are working national, state and local health departments to ensure our members receive necessary supplies and guidance to prevent the spread of this disease.

For Providers

Taking Reasonable Efforts to Prevent COVID-19 From Entering Your Long Term Care Facility

The first 100 reported COVID-19 fatalities, about 85 percent were older than 60. Many people appear to have had underlying health conditions, making it harder for their bodies to fight off COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. About 45 percent were older than 80 according to data from the CDC.
For Families and Friends

Coronavirus (COVID-19) poses a serious threat to older adults (especially 80 years old and older) and those with underlying health conditions. This is why the federal government and many state governments are restricting visitors to nursing homes and assisted living communities. Exceptions may be made on a case-by-case basis for end-of-life visits. We understand this is difficult, but the safety and wellbeing of your loved one is our top priority.

Here’s how you can continue to stay in touch with them, and how you can help:

  1. Communicate with your loved ones through alternative ways for the time being, whether by phone, video, social media, or other methods. Ask the facility about ways they can help with this.
  2. Make sure your loved one’s facility has your emergency contact information. The facility may need to communicate with you about any developments regarding your loved one or about the facility as a whole.
  3. If you must come to the facility, such as a loved one is near end-of-life, coordinate with the staff ahead of time.
    1. They may ask you some questions before or when your arrive. This is to make sure you do not pose as a potential risk to residents and staff.
    2. If you are asked to not enter the building, please understand this is for the safety of your loved one and everyone else in the building. Nursing homes and assisted living communities are following direction from the government to prevent the spread of this virus.
    3. ​If you are permitted in, please wash your hands or use alcohol-based hand sanitizer immediately upon entering and throughout your visit. Avoid touching your loved ones or other individuals in the building. Again, we know this is difficult, but the virus is very contagious and social distancing is important at this time.
For Residents and Patients

Coronavirus (COVID-19) poses a serious threat to older adults (especially 80 years old and older) and those with underlying health conditions. This is why the federal government and many state governments are restricting visitors to nursing homes and assisted living communities. We understand this is a difficult and stressful time. Those who work in long term care facilities are focused on your safety and wellbeing.

Here’s how you can continue to stay in touch with your loved ones, and how you can help:

  1. Ask the facility about other ways you can communicate with your loved ones, whether by phone, video or social media.
  2. Video Messages geared toward family members and residents
  3. Follow everyday preventive actions such as:
    1. ​Washing your hands or using alcohol-based hand sanitizers
    2. Covering your cough and sneezes
  4. ​Ask other individuals (including staff) to avoid touching you with handshakes, hugs or kisses. Ask them to wash their hands. Do not be shy! It’s okay to remind people.
  5. If you begin to experience a sore throat, coughing, sneezing or a fever, tell a staff member immediately.

COVID-19 FAQs
CMS Guidance & Resources

Guidance 

  • Focused COVID-19 Infection Control Survey Tool
    Federal and state surveyors will conduct targeted infection control surveys of providers identified together with CDC and the HHS Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR). They will use this survey tool to review infection prevention and control practices.
  • Factsheet: Medicare Coverage and Payment Related to COVID-19
    Medicare covers all medically necessary hospitalizations, as well as brief “virtual check-ins,” which allows patients and their doctors to connect by phone or video chat.
Prepare your facility or community
  • Maintaining Safe Health Care Facilities During Extraordinary Times
  • Centers should review their infection prevention and control policies and procedures for droplet precautions among residents and staff.
  • Assemble your Emergency Preparedness and Operations teams and prepare strategically for a potential spread of the virus.
  • ​Messaging to the people we serve is best received when the tone is calm, reassuring, and direct. It is important to emphasize both how the entire community is preparing, as well as how individuals can prepare at home.
  • Create a communication plan for all stakeholders.
    • ​​The World Health Organization has a great Communications Package that you can download and use.
    • AHCA/NCAL has a resource on communication plans here.
    • Communication with resident families is especially important during this time. Download our sample letter that you can use to contact families with an update on your center or community by mail, email or posting on social media.
    • Staff communication is also important. Our sample letter to employees can help you draft an email or letter for your own organization.
    • Template statement and talking points for facilities that have been impacted by Coronavirus can be accessed here. Facilities not impacted, click here​.
PPE Resources

An ADHS Google sheet was developed to capture any resources your facility may be able to share with other facilities or a place for you to find extra resources. Please fill out the spreadsheet with any items you are able to share and provide the contact information of the person in charge of your supply chain. This tool is intended to be a live document that empowers inter-facility communication and coordination. If you are experiencing shortages of PPE you can refer to this tool to identify available resources and contact the facility directly. Once you have exhausted all of your resources, we encourage you to contact your local Public Health Department (click here). We appreciate your participation in completing the PPE resource sharing spreadsheet. For technical assistance, please email: isggtt@azdhs.gov. Google sheet Link: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/17WLfnByqCL6K-ga3nArx4KlX6-eLhhVB0907h0iN-pA/edit#gid=0

What You Can Do Now

Follow everyday preventive actions such as:

  • Washing your hands
  • Using alcohol-based hand sanitizers
  • Covering your cough
  • Staying home when you are sick

The CDC does not currently recommend the general public to use facemasks.

Centers should educate families and visitors on signs and symptoms of respiratory illness and encourage them to visit with loved ones through alternative means when they are ill, such as telephone, Skype, or wearing a mask during visits.

Prepare Staff
  • It’s important that any staff who are sick stay home. CDC has detailed guidance on this here.
  • Acknowledge the current situation and share only verified facts.
  • Refresh staff with reminder trainings on hand hygiene, proper use of personal protective equipment, and their responsibility to stay home when sick.
  • Reassure staff that it is a similar approach to closures due to weather emergencies – something they are more familiar and comfortable with.
CDC Resources ADHS Resources Additional Resources