UPDATED 10/9/20: Baseline testing has been temporarily suspended. Most facilities have already completed baseline testing, and the focus has changed to routine testing in nursing homes, outbreak testing in nursing homes and assisted-living facilities, and confirmatory testing for antigen testing methods. If a facility has a need for baseline testing in order to progress to Phase III, please contact Becky Wisell at firstname.lastname@example.org or Dan Taylor at email@example.com.
Baseline testing is fully paid for by Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services. Any facility that chooses NOT to use this process must pay for their baseline testing. Any facility that chooses to order baseline testing kits from any other lab must pay for their own testing. The Nebraska Public Health Lab is NOT to be used for baseline testing.
On May 18, 2020, The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) issued
QSO-20-30-NH, Nursing Home Reopening Recommendations for State and Local Officials. The document provides guidance for State Survey Agencies and other state officials to determine how nursing facilities may begin to lift restrictions placed to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. CMS indicates in this QSO that testing will be a critical part of a facility lifting restrictions on operations.
The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (NEDHHS) agrees that it is important for all facilities to participate in baseline testing prior to the consideration of lifting restrictions. Baseline testing of staff and residents is critical to understanding how the virus may exist in facilities especially among those without symptoms. This understanding will allow for informed decisions to be made and appropriate steps to be taken for containment.
At minimum, facilities should meet the following testing metrics prior to moving to Phase III and may also follow this guidance any time a single positive case is identified in a facility:
View training resources and information on COVID-19 sample collection, transport, and storage, donning and doffing PPE, and Long Term Care Phasing Guidance.
In Nebraska, we take care of each other, and COVID-19 can show us the power we have when we work together. The best thing you can do right now to stop the spread and save lives is take a health assessment so we can better understand what is currently going on in Nebraska.
TestNebraska is a new initiative in partnership with our state leaders and private corporations. Our goal is to dramatically increase the rate of COVID-19 testing so Nebraskans can have better access to testing and help stem the spread of COVID-19 to get us back to normal as quickly as possible.