Woman visiting her grandmother in isolation during a coronavirus pandemic
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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday released updated community prevention guidelines for COVID-19 that roll back the five-day quarantine. Still, questions remain whether the guidance encompasses home care providers.

People with COVID-19 may return to their normal activities once they have no fever and their other symptoms have begun improving for at least 24 hours, according to the new CDC guidance. The agency also recommended people practice good hygiene and stay up to date on COVID-19 vaccinations to prevent infection.

The new guidance is “intended for community settings,” including senior living communities, and does not apply to healthcare settings, including nursing homes. But for home health and home- and community-based services providers, which operate in patients’ homes and communities, the question still remains whether they are subject to the five-day mandate.

“It’s a very, very pertinent question,” William Dombi, president of the National Association for Home Care & Hospice, said in an interview with McKnight’s Home Care Daily Pulse. “We need to get an answer to their recommendation.”

As it has currently been presented, CDC’s updated guidelines leaves room for interpretation by home care providers, Dombi said. He recommended agencies practice COVID-19 response strategies that they feel matches their patients’ best interest.

“What you’ll find among home healthcare and healthcare at home, generally speaking, is they will look at the patient population, and look at the risks for that particular patient in that particular home setting, to determine what’s in the best interest of that patient,” he said. “Whether the staff is kept isolated for another five days is one element, and whether the patient is kept in a different kind of treatment condition or isolated for five more days, too.”

And while home providers still need to wait and see if they are exempt from the five-day requirement, Dombi recommended following the CDC’s other guidelines for COVID-19 treatment and prevention.