ME DHHS/CDC COVID Briefing for LTC Medical Directors and Clinicians

On the November 1st LTC Medical Directors and Clinicians call the following topics were discussed:
Q: I have heard of other states adopting a "mask optional" use for employees/visitors/residents based on community-spread stats.  Is this something that Maine will adopt in the future?
A: From Carrie Rice: Maine is deferring to U.S. CDC guidance for masking: 
Note: Community Transmission, Source Control & PPE Guidance was last updated on 9/28/22.
Q: I'm curious what other organizations are doing regarding new admissions. What does that process look like?
A: Reference U.S. CDC guidelines:
Note: See the section on Nursing homes.
Q: Can we get information on those [employee COVID screening] kiosks?
A: From Dr. Rich Marino: the company that St. Joseph's Rehab used (and administrator, Joel Rogers, mentioned on the call yesterday) was Repticity:, though please note that there are other similar systems out there and we are not promoting one over the other. 
Dr. Marino has offered to share the name of the rep that worked with SJR; can contact him via email:
Q: Any updates regarding recommended isolation spells for Covid-positive residents? (Can precautions be discontinued sooner with a negative POC?) Such as bringing staff back sooner to work if testing negative (w/N95 use).
A: From Carrie Rice: Refer to US CDC guidance on general isolation discontinuation: Also, as always, you can email for guidance or with questions.
Q: Is it possible still to get respiratory viral panel testing at HETL---especially in the presence of an outbreak? 
A: From Lori Webber, ME CDC/HETL: We do have capacity at HETL to perform limited respiratory panel tests during an outbreak.  We would only perform testing on patients exhibiting respiratory symptoms, ruling out COVID and Influenza A/B first.  Then, if that testing was negative move on to the rest of our panel, which includes Adenovirus, Respiratory Enterovirus, Rhinovirus, RSV, and Parainfluenza 1-4. 

The facility would need to contact Maine CDC Epi line (800.821.5821) and speak with the Epidemiologist on Call and discuss what was going on at the facility in terms of symptoms, testing already done, if there had been previous outbreaks at a facility but in a different wing or floor, etc.
NOTE: Dr. Marino also noted numerous errors in the dosing of Paxlovid for treatment of LTC patients with COVID.  A helpful summary of these issues, along with illustration of Paxlovid packaging, is available from the Institute for Safe Medical Practices.
Staff Contact: