Under Title 17, Section 2500, California Code of Regulations all suspected outbreaks are reportable.
Definition of Outbreak:
Note: LA County will open outbreaks for confirmed cases https://www.cdph.ca.gov/Programs/CHCQ/LCP/Pages/AFL-23-09.aspx
Case: A case is defined as an individual with a positive viral test (e.g., PCR/NAAT or antigen test) regardless of symptoms unless a confirmatory PCR/NAAT test is negative for an asymptomatic individual with a positive antigen test.
Every staff member or resident with any signs or symptoms of COVID-19 should be tested with a SARS-CoV-2 viral test (PCR/NAAT or antigen) as soon as possible, regardless of vaccination status and regardless of time since prior COVID-19 infection.
Immediately isolate and initiate standard, contact, droplet precautions, plus N95 respiratory use and eye protection for all suspect or confirmed patients with signs or symptoms of COVID-19. A patient with COVID-19 is considered to be infectious from 2 days before their symptoms started until their isolation period ends. Asymptomatic patients with a positive SARS-CoV-2 viral test are considered to be infectious from 2 days before their test was taken until their isolation period ends.
Healthcare Personnel (HCP):
Refer to Guidance on Quarantine and Isolation for Health Care Personnel (HCP) Exposed to SARS-CoV-2 and Return to Work for HCP with COVID-19 (CDPH AFL 21-08.9) for return to work protocol for infected HCP.
A close contact refers to anyone who shared the same indoor airspace with someone with COVID-19 for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period while they were infectious.
Although the general public is not required to quarantine, psychiatric patients have risk factors such as unknown CoV-19 vaccination, unable to verbally express symptoms, non-compliance to wearing masks, unable to properly wear a mask, frequent inpatient admissions and discharges, contact with other high-risk individuals. Monitor close contacts for symptoms every shift.
Identify any close contacts or exposures to the COVID-19 positive case. Public Health may direct facilities to quarantine contacts for 10 days, regardless of vaccination status, to mitigate transmission. If the contacts do not have symptoms, quarantine can end after Day 10.
Note: Quarantine can end after Day 5 only if the contact is asymptomatic, a COVID-19 viral test collected on or after Day 5 is negative and is able to properly wear a mask through Day 10.
How to count quarantine days: Day 0 is the day of your last contact (exposure) with the infected person. Day 1 is the first full day after the last exposure.
If the contacts are discharged home prior to completion of quarantine, provide them instructions for close contacts (available at ph.lacounty.gov/covidcontacts).
Healthcare Personnel (HCP):
Identify all close contact HCP (includes clinical and ancillary staff), and determine risk status using the guide outlined in Infection Prevention and Guidance for Healthcare Personnel. Refer to Guidance on Quarantine and Isolation for Health Care Personnel (HCP) Exposed to SARS-CoV-2 and Return to Work for HCP with COVID-19 (CDPH AFL 21-08.9) for management of exposed HCP.
Healthcare providers are to contact any visitors that may have been exposed to a suspected or confirmed case and provide them instructions (available at ph.lacounty.gov/covidcontacts).
Public Health may restrict visitation during an outbreak.
Test patients who are close contacts and staff with higher-risk exposures identified in contact tracing after exposure. This approach should only be utilized when exposure is known to be limited and contact tracing can be done immediately.
Tracking of COVID-19 test results for patients and staff needs to be available to California Department of Public Health (CDPH) and Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (LAC DPH) upon request.
In addition to CDC guidelines, the recommendations below are referenced from the California Department of Public Health AFL for Environmental Infection Control for the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).
Visitation may be restricted during an outbreak as directed by public health officials.
Communal dining and group activities should be permitted for all patients except those who are in isolation, Red Cohort. Asymptomatic patients who are close contacts may participate in group activities while wearing well-fitting face masks through day 10 since their last exposure. Asymptomatic patients who are close contacts should not participate in communal dining through day 10 since their last exposure. Day 0 is the day of the last contact (exposure) with the infected person..
Facilities are required to follow transfer and home discharge rules as listed on the LAC DPH website (http://publichealth.lacounty.gov/acd/NCorona2019/InterfacilityTransferRules.htm).
Refer to Provider and Laboratory Reporting Guidelines for COVID-19 at http://publichealth.lacounty.gov/acd/ncorona2019/reporting.htm.
The outbreak can be closed once closure criteria is met:
1. Two consecutive weeks of response testing in a staff and patients have been negative;
2. Upon the discretion of the AMD or MD designee.
Prior to closure, all of the following documents must be completed:
Effective ventilation is one of the most important ways to control small aerosol transmission. Facilities should consult with professionals (facilities engineers, mechanical engineers, indoor air quality or industrial hygiene consultants, etc.) to perform comprehensive evaluations of their HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning) systems and indoor air quality and obtain permits or approvals from any applicable regulatory bodies as necessary prior to implementing changes. Facilities should not rely on any single solution to effectively improve the ventilation and air quality of their buildings. Importantly, ventilation and other indoor air quality improvements are additions to and not replacements for infection prevention and control including any applicable state or local directives. Please carefully review in full the following guidance from CDPH, Department of Health Care Access and Information (HCAI) formerly OSHPD, and Cal/OSHA: Interim Guidance for Ventilation, Filtration, and Air Quality in Indoor Environments.
Information on infection control basics and the difference between standard and transmission-based precautions can be found at https://www.cdc.gov/infectioncontrol/basics/index.html.
Due to security and behavioral concerns in behavioral health settings, some infection control guidance may need to be tailored for the safety of the patients.
View CDC recommendations for universal source control.
Recommend COVID-19 PCR testing upon admission for unvaccinated patients, patients whose vaccination status is unknown, patients who are symptomatic, and patients with known exposure as these results can inform the type of infection control precautions used (e.g., room assignment/cohorting, or personal protective equipment used). Recommend antigen or COVID-19 PCR testing upon admission for fully vaccinated patients who are asymptomatic and without known exposure. Continue to monitor all patients for the development of COVID-19 symptoms, and promptly test any newly symptomatic patients and patients who are exposed to a suspected or confirmed case during their hospital stay, regardless of their vaccination status.