Public Health Emergency

The federal government will extend the COVID-19 public health emergency (PHE) declaration until April. The declaration allows numerous waivers, enhanced funding and telehealth allowances. Waivers allow nursing homes to hire and retain temporary nurse aides without full certification. This helps with short-staffing.

The health care industry approves of the declaration. American Health Care Association / National Center for Assisted Living President and CEO Mark Parkinson said that the industry needed extensions. Federal health leaders have said that they would give states at least 60 days’ notice before letting the PHE expire. The PHE designation is a lifeline to long-term care operators.

About a dozen states still have separate public health emergency orders in play.

Just over 48% of residents were considered fully vaccinated. The fully vaccinated rate among staff is at only 28.7%.