NYS Department of Health Updated COVID-19 Guidelines for Health Care Providers

The Department of Health (NYSDOH) has released updated guidance on infection prevention and control recommendations for healthcare personnel during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. The advisory adopts the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendations on transmission-based precautions for patients and healthcare providers, and recommends that all healthcare facilities adhere to the CDC recommendations. The guidance supersedes the guidance for transmission-based precautions contained in the May 3, 2021 health notice.


The guidelines also update pre-elective procedural testing requirements for non-essential elective procedures by hospitals, outpatient surgery centers, in-office surgery practices, and diagnostic and treatment centers. The guidelines require SARS-CoV-2 testing for all elective procedures, regardless of the patient’s vaccination status, unless the asymptomatic patient has recovered from a confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection. in the laboratory during the previous 90 days. The guidelines establish the following requirements for compliance with the updated testing requirement:


  • Samples for pre-elective procedural testing should be collected from patients one calendar day surgery or elective procedure, and test results must be received and reviewed prior to proceeding with the surgery or elective procedure.
  • Testing can be done using any nucleic acid amplification test (NAAT) or antigen test authorized by the United States Food and Drug Administration.
  • Patients may provide COVID-19 home test results if the facility has policies and procedures in place to ensure that the patient’s home test(s) was performed correctly, on the correct person, in accordance to the instructions in the manual and within the deadlines. within one calendar day (eg photograph of the test(s) performed, patient certificate).
  • Pre-procedure testing is not required before urgent unscheduled surgeries or procedures, which are not elective. However, in these situations, a thorough screening and history should be obtained and appropriate precautions should be implemented.


The guidelines implement additional requirements for healthcare facilities with respect to patient visits. Specifically, vendors must implement the following requirements:


  • Visitors must undergo symptom checks upon entering the facility and must be refused entry if they report symptoms of COVID-19, a positive viral test for SARS-CoV-2 within ten previous days or close contact with a person infected with SARS-CoV-2 within the previous ten days. Facilities should have an established process to identify and manage individuals with suspected or confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection, regardless of their vaccination status (for example, individual screening upon arrival at the facility or a system whereby individuals can self-report any of the above). before entering the establishment).
  • Once in the facility, visitors should generally remain in the patient’s room throughout the visit, except when asked to leave by hospital staff. When in other areas of the facility outside of the patient room (e.g. cafeteria, waiting room, restrooms), visitors should be kept sufficiently far away from other patients and staff. Facilities should develop policies and procedures to ensure that visitors follow NYSDOH guidelines on the use of source control by visitors.


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