NEW JERSEY – The New Jersey Department of Health Monday issued an Executive Directive requiring that facilities that receive BinaxNOW tests and have a CLIA Certificate—which is a lab requirement for point of care testing—test all staff and visitors from Nov. 30 to Dec. 14.
“Once again, community spread across the state is driving outbreaks in our congregate care facilities,” said New Jersey Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli. “In order to stop the virus at the door, the Department has distributed more than 366,000 BinaxNOW tests to CLIA certified facilities to aggressively test staff and visitors. This two-week pilot will help inform further guidance to protect our vulnerable seniors in their homes.”
During the testing pilot, staff who are scheduled to work three or more consecutive days are to be tested every other day using BinaxNOW tests. Other staff are to be tested every other day, or their next shift when 48 hours have passed since their last test. This requirement supersedes the weekly staff testing protocol previously established, until the facility runs out of BinaxNow tests or by December 14, whichever comes first.
Facilities also must test any visitor entering the facility with an FDA approved or authorized Point of Care (POC) test, unless the visitor can provide proof of a negative POC test collected and performed in the past 24 hours. Emergency Medical Services personnel are exempted during an emergency situation.
The directive also applies to residents who leave for more than 24 hours and those who leave regularly for medical appointments. These residents will be tested based on a risk assessment.
Facilities that have not received their BinaxNOW tests from the Department as of today—and that possess ample supplies of their own Point of Care tests, are encouraged to use them to test staff every other day and visitors until they receive BinaxNOW allocations from the Department.
The pilot will conclude on Dec. 14 or when the facility runs out of supplies.