Emergency order updated to protect residents, workers in nursing homes

Gov. John Carney on Wednesday issued stricter guidelines to prevent COVID infections in nursing facilities and other long-term care homes.

“Our elderly populations, and especially Delawareans in long-term care facilities, are at very high risk for COVID-19 infection and hospitalization. These stricter measures that we’re issuing today are intended to save lives,” said Carney.

“All Delawareans should do their part to protect their neighbors, friends, and family members – especially those who are immunocompromised. We know the weather is getting nicer. But continue to stay at home. Don’t go out in public unnecessarily. You’ll only increase the risk for everyone. We’ll get through this. But we need to keep working together.”

Carney’s order requires nursing facilities to immediately ensure they are in full compliance with Public Health Authority guidance. Nursing facilities must check Division of Public Health guidance at least daily to ensure they are complying with the most current guidance and adjust their policies, procedures, and protocols accordingly.

Returning residents to their nursing facility remains a priority. Residents who have been admitted or seen at a hospital for COVID-19 shall be allowed to return to the nursing facility – as long as the facility follows approved measures from the Division of Public Health and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

If nursing facility residents must temporarily go to other facilities, every effort must be made to transfer the residents back as soon as possible. A negative COVID-19 test shall not be required prior to return.

Governor Bacon Health Center

This will be a nonacute alternate care site for patients who are discharged from the hospital, have some Activities of Daily Living needs, and are unable to return to their homes in the community or long-term care due to caregiver or staffing challenges. As previously announced, GBHC is one of the tools the state will use to ensure that critical care beds are available to people who need hospitalization and intensive treatment for COVID-19 infections.