Long Term Care COVID-19 Testing Requirements

This interim guidance provides updated guidelines and criteria for COVID-19 testing in licensed long-term care (LTC) facilities, as defined by the Nursing Home Care Act, 210 ILCS 45, primarily focusing on skilled nursing and intermediate care facilities.

Given their congregate setting and resident populations served (e.g., older adults often with underlying chronic medical conditions), nursing home populations are at the highest risk of being affected by COVID-19. If infected with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, residents are at increased risk of serious illness. The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) is committed to working proactively with LTC facilities to prevent illnesses.

Restoring Illinois – Protecting Our Communities FAQs

On May 29, Gov. JB Pritzker signed Executive Order 36 – Restoring Illinois – Protecting Our Communities – to safely and conscientiously resume activities that were paused due to the COVID-19 pandemic. While continuing to protect communities, the Governor’s action is part of the Restore Illinois plan and is designed to reopen the state’s economy and begin to repair the economic damage brought on by the pandemic.  For more information, see below.


Q: Does the latest Executive Order mean the stay at home mandate is over?

A: Yes.  However, when outside your residence you must always and as reasonably possible maintain social distancing of at least 6 feet (about 2 arms’ length) from other people who do not live with you. Keeping space between you and others is one of the best tools to avoiding being exposed to the virus.

Workplace Health and Safety Guidance for Employees and Staff of Businesses

Practice Social Distancing

Pursuant to Executive Order 2020-32 (Stay at Home Order), your employer must comply, to the greatest extent feasible, with social distancing requirements. This means that your employer should:

Long Term Care Facility Resident Monitoring Protocol

Long-Term Care Facility Residents/Patients

All Patients

Obtain Vitals (temperature, heart rate, respirations) AND pulse oximetry every 8 hours (Q8 hours). Blood Pressure can be taken once a day.

Symptom screening to be performed every shift (Q8H) and should include questions about and/or observations of the following:

  1.  Fever 
  2.  Shortness of Breath (SOB) 
  3.  Cough 
  4.  Sore Throat
  5.  Chills or shaking w/chills
  6. Muscle pains
  7. Headache
  8. New loss of taste or smell

Contact Clinical Supervisor for any of the following: new-onset fever, SOB, cough, sore throat or for any decrease in pulse oximetry from resident baseline level or any pulse oximetry reading < 92%. Providers should strongly consider transfer to a higher level of care. Monitoring every 4 hours is appropriate for patients with evidence of clinical deterioration.

Long-term care Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is being done to protect long term care (LTC) residents from COVID-19?

A: Administrators have been instructed to restrict visits, cancel group activities, shut down dining rooms and screen residents and staff for fevers and respiratory diseases.

Q: Where can I find information about LTC facility outbreaks?

A: The number of confirmed cases and deaths at long term care facilities from January 24, 2020 can be found at: http://dph.illinois.gov/covid19/long-term-care-facility-outbreaks-covid-19. The numbers are provisional and will be updated weekly. LTC facilities will have the most up-to-date information on cases in their facility.

Communicating about COVID-19 in Congregate Settings (Long-Term Care Facilities)

This guidance addresses notification procedures by long-term care facilities to residents, residents’ family, guardians, or emergency contacts, and to staff members, when a resident or a staff member is diagnosed with COVID-19. This guidance also addresses notification to a resident’s family, guardian, or emergency contact when that resident has died from COVID-19.

Long-term care facilities are facilities licensed by the Department of Public Health (DPH) and include, but are not limited to, skilled nursing facilities, nursing facilities, shelter care facilities, assisted living facilities, shared housing establishments, life care facilities, intermediate care facilities, medically complex facilities for the developmentally disabled, and specialized mental health rehabilitation facilities.

Long Term Care Facilities Guidance

COVID-19 Control Measures for Long Term Care
Interim Guidance (subject to change)

Long term care facility residents are at high risk of being affected by COVID-19.  Risk factors associated with living in a congregate setting and characteristics of the populations served (often older adults with chronic medical conditions) can result in more severe disease from COVID-19 in these individuals.

The following guidance is to help prevent transmission of COVID-19 in long term care facilities.

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