The status of Georgia’s policies on Cleaning and Disinfection are as follows:

  • Georgia Department of Public Health
    • During a recent Georgia Department of Public Health COVID-19 update call, the director of nursing for a nursing home located in southeast Georgia shared its COVID-19 containment strategies. The facility has had no COVID-19 cases since March 2020:
      • Infection control practices started early to include temperatures of staff and residents.
      • Isolation plans were implemented for residents coming from the hospital, dialysis, or other external sources.
      • The facility conducted frequent staff education and requested that staff only work in its facility and not others.
      • Open windows allow fresh air in the building and residents have outdoor time with social distancing.
      • The National Guard has assisted with cleaning.
      • The facility continually communicates with families on pandemic activities, including testing as required by the state of Georgia.
      • Leadership is committed to keeping all lines of communication open with staff, residents, and families to contain travel and reduce public exposure for the protection of the residents and staff.

Notable Groups: Georgia Department of Public Health

The status of Georgia’s policies on reporting, guidance, and mandated reporting are as follows:

  • Georgia Department of Community Health
  • Georgia Healthcare Facility Regulation Department
    • Worked closely with the Georgia Department of Health, Georgia Health Care Association, and the Georgia National Guard to stay abreast of COVID-19 activity and the impact on centers, while remaining vigilant for highest quality of care for the residents in Georgia.
    • Provides website updates with changes in rules and regulations, contact information, and a nurse aide program temporary waiver for staffing.
    • Surveyors have been connecting with long term care organizations, collecting information related to COVID-19 and coordinating with the National Guard to develop a system for collection of COVID-19 data.
    • The data collection platform will update the public daily at 2 PM, replacing a previous report 13 State Actions for COVID-19 Management and Response from the Governor’s Office. (Relevant link: https://dch.georgia.gov/divisionsoffices/healthcare-facility-regulation)

Notable Groups: Georgia Department of Community Health, Georgia Healthcare Facility Regulation Department

Georgia’s testing policies are described below:

  • Georgia National Guard, Department of Public Health, Department of Community Health
    • Developed a testing strategy in response to Governor Brian Kemp’s recommendations to support broader testing and to prioritize testing of vulnerable populations and health care professionals.
    • Ultimately, this strategy will expand to include private or commercial labs. More than 200 nursing homes have invited teams into their centers for cleaning and sanitizing, staff education, and assistance with testing. (Relevant link: https://www.ghca.info/Files/National%20Guard%20Test%20Team%20for%20LTCF%20Process.pdf)
  • Georgia Department of Public Health (GDPH)
    • GDPH is using an online contact tracing program called Healthy Georgia Collaborative. Following a confirmed positive case, the department will contact those who were in contact with the individual two days before illness set in and enroll them in symptom monitoring. Individuals will be asked to monitor and report their symptoms through text messaging or phone calls and are asked to stay home for 14 days. (Relevant link: https://dph.georgia.gov/contact-tracing)
    • Provides on-site support and developed a process for video audits, which has been invaluable to those in “hot spots” of COVID-19 activity.
    • Collected data from health care facilities on the State Electronic Notifiable Disease Surveillance System (SendSS) network.
    • Supported health care facilities with virtual and on-site visits.
    • Tested COVID-19 samples at the Georgia Department of Public Health laboratory. (Relevant link: https://dph.georgia.gov)
  • United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)

Notable Groups: Georgia National Guard, Department of Public Health, Department of Community Health, Georgia Department of Public Health (GDPH), United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)

The status of Georgia’s workforce and staffing are explained beneath:

  • Georgia Association of Nurses in Long Term Care
    • Continued supportive efforts of the Georgia Health Care Association for updates to nursing staff and encouraged centers to take advantage of applicable waivers to reduce staffing burdens (Relevant link: https://www.ghca.info/ganltc)
  • Georgia Healthcare Facility Regulation Department
    • Worked closely with the Georgia Department of Public Health, the Georgia Health Care Association (GHCA), and the National Guard to stay abreast of COVID-19 activity and the impact on centers, while remaining vigilant for highest quality of care for the residents in Georgia.
    • Provided website updates with changes in rules/regulations, contact information and nurse aide program temporary waiver for staffing.
    • Surveyors have been connecting with long term care organizations collecting information related to COVID-19 and coordinating with the Georgia National Guard to develop a system for collection of COVID-19 data.
    • The data collection platform will update the public daily at 2 PM, replacing a previous report from the Office of the Governor Brian Kemp. (Relevant link: https://dch.georgia.gov/divisionsoffices/healthcare-facility-regulation)
  • LeadingAge

Notable Groups: Georgia Association of Nurses in Long Term Care, Georgia Healthcare Facility Regulation Department, LeadingAge

Georgia’s cohorting practices are as follows:

  • Georgia Department of Public Health
    • During a recent Georgia Department of Public Health COVID-19 update call, the director of nursing for a nursing home located in southeast Georgia shared its COVID-19 containment strategies. The facility has had no COVID-19 cases since March 2020:
      • Infection control practices started early to include temperatures of staff and residents.
      • Isolation plans were implemented for residents coming from the hospital, dialysis, or other external sources.
      • The facility conducted frequent staff education and requested that staff only work in its facility and not others.
      • Open windows allow fresh air in the building and residents have outdoor time with social distancing.
      • The National Guard has assisted with cleaning.
      • The facility continually communicates with families on pandemic activities, including testing as required by the state of Georgia.
      • Leadership is committed to keeping all lines of communication open with staff, residents, and families to contain travel and reduce public exposure for the protection of the residents and staff.
    • Office of the Governor Brian P. Kemp

Notable Groups: Georgia Department of Public Health, Office of the Governor Brian P. Kemp

Georgia has established a number of infection control surveys and other state survey activities within their state’s boundaries:

  • Georgia Department of Public Health
    • The ability to provide on-site support and develop a process for video audits has been invaluable to those in “hot spots” of COVID-19 activity. The agency collects data from health care facilities on the State Electronic Notifiable Disease Surveillance System for Georgia (SENDSS) network, supports health care facilities with virtual and on-site visits, and tests COVID-19 samples at the Georgia Department of Public Health Laboratory. (Relevant link: https://dph.georgia.gov)

Notable Groups: Georgia Department of Public Health

The status of Georgia’s nursing home (NH) communications during the Covid-19 pandemic:

  • Office of the Governor Brian P. Kemp
    • On June 11, 2020, Governor Kemp issued an Executive Order stating that controlled outdoor visitations may occur as part of a compassionate plan of care, so long as state guidelines are followed. The shelter-in-place order for long term facilities remains in place until July 12, 2020. (Relevant link: https://gov.georgia.gov/executive-action/executive-orders/2020-executive-orders)
    • On June 29, 2020, Governor Kemp extended the Public Health State of Emergency via Executive Order as part of the state’s ongoing response to the COVID-19 pandemic. It was set to expire on July 12, and has been extended to August 11 and, additionally, extends Executive Order 04.08.20.03 regarding long term care for a period of 43 days, also until August 11. As such, centers are being asked to continue to restrict facility visitation, group activities and communal dining. (Relevant link: https://gov.georgia.gov/executive-action/executive-orders/2020-executive-orders)

Notable Groups: Office of the Governor Brian P. Kemp

Georgia’s ongoing actions to improve access to personal protective equipment (PPE):

  • Georgia Department of Public Health
  • Georgia Health Care Association (GHCA)
    • The GHCA emergency preparedness leader has been in constant contact with the Georgia Emergency Preparedness Command Center and stands ready to assist with all facets of needs from personal protective equipment (PPE) to all other equipment needed. (Relevant link: https://www.ghca.info)
  • Office of the Governor Brian Kemp
    • Governor Brian Kemp signed a bill that provided additional measures for the protection of elderly persons. House Bill 987 increases the maximum fines for violation by health care facilities, addresses staffing and training amongst other improvements. (Relevant link: https://legislativenavigator.ajc.com/#bills/HB/987)

Notable Groups: Georgia Department of Public Health, Georgia Health Care Association (GHCA), Office of the Governor Brian Kemp

Georgia’s attempts to solve the transportation needs of its citizenry are as follows:

Notable Groups: Georgia Health Care Association (GHCA)

The state of Georgia’s patient transfer routines below:

Notable Groups: Georgia Health Care Association (GHCA)

Georgia’s current resources during the Covid-19 pandemic:

  • Georgia Department of Public Health (GA DPH)
    • Georgia DPH has been a supportive agency for all facets of health care during this pandemic.
    • Its ability to provide on-site support and develop a process for video audits has been invaluable to those that are in “hot spots” of COVID-19 activity.
    • Collects data from health care facilities on the State Electronic Notifiable Disease Surveillance System (SENDSS) network.
    • Supports health care facilities with virtual and on-site visits.
    • Tests for COVID-19 samples at the GA DPH laboratory. (Relevant link: https://dph.georgia.gov)

Notable Groups: Georgia Department of Public Health (GA DPH)

Georgia’s ongoing actions to better check visitors for potential Covid-19 and other methods of screening said visitors for family meetings:

  • Office of the Governor Brian P. Kemp
  • Georgia Department of Community Health
    • On September 21, 2020, the Georgia Department of Community Health issued a revised Administrative Order outlining long term care facility reopening guidance. Topics covered in the order include:

Notable Groups: Office of the Governor Brian P. Kemp, Georgia Department of Community Health

Georgia’s Telehealth Inclusion:

  • Office of the Governor Brian P. Kemp
    • The Governor’s Office of Planning and Budget, working with the Department of Community Health, has requested that Georgia Health Information Network (GaHIN) provide certain information as part of the state’s COVID-19 response and re-opening planning.
    • It is likely that the information request will be on a continuing basis during the COVID-19 public health emergency.
    • The data elements requested at this time include the following: admits, discharges, transfers (ADT); death reporting; electronic lab reports (ELR); and emergency management services (EMS).
    • Provided member updates on Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) privacy and other Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, and agency information. (Relevant link: https://www.gahin.org)

Notable Groups: Office of the Governor Brian P. Kemp

Georgia’s notable organizations that are confirmed nursing home assistance for the pandemic:

  • Office of the Governor Brian P. Kemp
  • Georgia Healthcare Facility Regulation Department
    • Georgia Healthcare Facility Regulation Department worked closely with the Department of Public Health, the Georgia Health Care Association, and the National Guard to stay abreast of COVID-19 activity and its impact on centers while remaining vigilant for highest quality of care for the residents in Georgia.
    • Surveyors connected with long term care organizations to collect information related to COVID19 and coordinated with the Georgia National Guard to develop a system for collection of COVID-19 data. The data collection platform was released daily at 2 PM, replacing a previous report from the Governor’s Office. (Relevant link: https://dch.georgia.gov/divisionsoffices/healthcare-facility-regulation)
  • Georgia National Guard, Department of Public Health, Department of Community Health
    • Developed a testing strategy in response to Governor Kemp’s recommendations to support broader testing and to prioritize testing of vulnerable populations and health care professionals.
    • Ultimately, this strategy will expand to include private or commercial labs. Approximately 200+ nursing homes have invited teams into their centers for cleaning and sanitizing, staff education, and assistance with testing. (Relevant link: https://www.ghca.info/Files/National%20Guard%20Test%20Team%20for%20LTCF%20Process.pdf)

Notable Groups: Office of the Governor Brian P. Kemp, Georgia Healthcare Facility Regulation Department, Georgia National Guard, Department of Public Health, Department of Community Health

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Georgia: Nursing Home Tool Kit

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