Iowa officials have issued updated emergency staffing guidance for nursing homes after the state reported that more than 110 facilities are currently struggling to manage COVID-19 outbreaks.
The new guidelines, which were issued late last week, allow providers to let workers who have tested positive for COVID-19 to care for residents who are also positive or suspected of having the disease.
Only in “last resort emergency staffing situations” will nursing home workers with confirmed COVID-19 be allowed to care for residents who don’t have the disease.
“News of long-term care outbreaks is very concerning as it impacts our most vulnerable population and as we saw earlier this year, the consequences of COVID-19 can be devastating for residents and their families,” Gov. Kim Reynolds (R) said during a Thursday news conference.
“In an effort to more effectively assist long-term care facilities with staffing concerns, the state has provided updated guidance on preparation and implementation of emergency staffing plans,” she added.
The state also announced an additional $14 million in federal relief funding for nursing homes to help them hire more workers and purchase more testing supplies.
“What it means for us is that providers are going to be more equipped to recruit and retain more staff members to provide direct care and provide more testing across the facility for both staff and residents,” Brent Willet, CEO of the Iowa Health Care Association, told local media.