With the increase in cases of the Omicron COVID variant, the FDA and CDC have announced some updates that can help guide testing decisions and action.
Yesterday, the CDC published updated guidance calling for prioritization of visitation, dining, and a re-opening of group activities in assisted living communities. This guidance, which also includes recommendations for discontinuation of routine testing for asymptomatic staff, follows a series of discussions where Argentum advocated for such guidance specifically for the assisted living sector. We thank those at the CDC for listening to the industry's needs and for the volunteers at Argentum for sharing their expertise in helping to shape this guidance.“This is tremendously welcome news for residents and families who’ve long awaited meaningful engagement with each other," said James Balda, Argentum president & CEO. "Both visitation and dining are core socialization activities at our communities; lifting restrictions for those fully vaccinated will continue to support social enrichment for residents and families. We are thankful that resident vaccination rates across the industry are exceedingly high and that a sense of normalcy is returning. At Argentum, we are continuing to work closely with the CDC to ensure further guidance is adapted for assisted living and other senior living communities.”
Users of the BinaxNOW™ COVID-19 Ag Card are urged to check the lot numbers and expiration dates of their tests. Abbott has informed users that further testing has authorized use of some tests up to nine months, three months beyond the original expiration dates.
Today, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a new emergency use authorization (EUA) for the BinaxNOW COVID-19 Ag Card Home Test, now authorized for use at home with a prescription.
Educating lawmakers and their staff about the critical needs of the senior living industry remains a top priority. As such, we will be holding a virtual Senior Living Congressional Briefing on Thursday, November 19.
In the coming days, we'll be hosting important member-only webinars on COVID-19. We encourage you to join us to be sure you have the latest details on applying for Provider Relief Fund Phase 3 funding (10/21); testing (10/26); and compliance with Provider Relief Fund payments (11/9).
All assisted living communities with a CLIA certificate of waiver will receive rapid point-of-care tests from HHS. The the first distributions will go to all CLIA-certified assisted living communities whether or not they are in a COVID-19 hotspot (as determined by CDC epidemiological data).