On April 5th Governor Hogan enacted an emergency order regarding Maryland nursing homes and COVID-19 directives. Hogan cited cases or clusters of cases at 81 nursing homes and long-term care facilities across the state as a motivating factor for this executive order. These new directives are effective immediately and require Long-Term Care facilities to adjust and strengthen their procedures and adopt enhanced protective measures including:
Personal Protective Equipment for Staff
All personnel who are in close contact with residents of nursing homes shall wear personal protective equipment (PPE), including a face mask, appropriate eye protection, gloves, and gown at all times while providing care.
Expedited Testing for Symptomatic Residents
All facilities must use the most expeditious means available for testing. Symptomatic residents of nursing homes and long-term care facilities are among the patient groups prioritized by the state laboratory.
Separate Observation Areas
All facilities must designate a unit of staff who are assigned to care for known or suspected COVID-19 residents; designate a room, unit, or floor of the nursing home as a separate observation.
Placement of Discharged Patients
MDH’s Office of Health Care Quality will assist acute care hospitals, if necessary, in discharging patients who require nursing-home level care.
Right of Return for Residents
Nursing home residents admitted or seen at a hospital for COVID-19 must be allowed to return to the nursing home as long as the facility can follow the approved CDC recommendations for transmission-based precautions.
Compliance with the above directives is mandatory and anyone who knowingly and willfully violates this order is guilty of a misdemeanor and upon conviction is subject to imprisonment not exceeding one year and/or a fine up to $5,000.