By Kim McCarl, Assistant to the Director, Communications, Contra Costa Health Services
Residential care and other licensed healthcare facilities in Contra Costa County must screen all staff and visitors for signs of illness and adhere to a strict masking policy, according to a new health officer order that begins Tuesday.
The order is intended to protect medically vulnerable patients and reduce the spread of COVID-19 within the facilities that care for them, Contra Costa Health Officer Dr. Chris Farnitano said.
“The age and health of many county residents, particularly those living in congregate care settings, places them at higher risk of serious health complications, including death, from COVID-19,” Farnitano said. “This order is another precaution we can take as a community to protect our vulnerable residents.”
The order applies to licensed residential care facilities, including nursing and senior care facilities, psychiatric facilities, group homes, residential recovery houses and homeless shelters.
Beginning Tuesday, April 14, anyone who is not a patient or resident at an applicable facility must submit to temperature and symptom screening, and facilities must exclude anyone who has had symptoms of respiratory illness or fever in the past seven days, or a temperature of 100 degrees Fahrenheit or higher.
The order does not apply to facility patients or residents, or people seeking care for their symptoms.
Facilities must now log screenings of staff and visitors, and staff and visitors must wear surgical masks, or cloth masks if surgical masks are not available, and practice physical distancing at the facility.
Facilities with known or suspected COVID-19 cases must notify emergency dispatchers and ambulance transporters of the presence of the virus at the facility, and the COVID-19 status of any patient transported to or from the facility.
Licensed care facilities are also now required to minimize the staffing of employees working at multiple facilities, and to keep records of any employees who worked at another healthcare facility during the previous 14 days.
Visit cchealth.org/coronavirus to read the order or for more information about COVID-19.