CDC Updates COVID-19 Guidance Documents - National Commission on Correctional Health Care
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covid virus 680x510 1May 12, 2023

CDC Updates COVID-19 Guidance Documents

On May 11, 2023, CDC posted updates to several COVID-19 guidance documents to coincide with the end of the Public Health Emergency (PHE) declaration for COVID-19. A summary of updates pertaining to correctional and detention facilities is provided below.

In addition, the Bureau of Justice Assistance will host an “Office Hours” webinar next Wednesday, May 17, where they will walk through guidance updates for correctional and detention facilities and answer participants’ questions. Registration information is below.

For more information, email [email protected]

Summary of COVID-19 Guidance Updates

  • Link to updated guidance for correctional and detention facilities: Guidance on Management of COVID-19 in Homeless Service Sites and in Correctional and Detention Facilities | CDC
  • There are 3 updates to this guidance since the last version:
    1. COVID-19 Community Levels will no longer be used. They have been replaced by COVID-19 hospital admission levels. This update affects all CDC COVID-19 guidance, for all settings.
      • With the end of the PHE, the state-level COVID-19 testing data that CDC has used to calculate Community Levels are no longer available. However, hospital admission data will continue to be available and will be used to calculate county-level Low/Medium/High hospital admission levels.
      • You can find your county’s COVID-19 hospital admission level here: COVID-19 by County | CDC. Data are updated weekly.
      • The thresholds for Low/Medium/High COVID-19 hospital admission levels are the same as they were previously:
        • Low: <10 per 100k population
        • Medium: 10-19 per 100k population
        • High: 20+ per 100k population
      • In the COVID-19 corrections guidance, all references to COVID-19 Community Levels have been replaced by COVID-19 hospital admission levels. CDC recommends that facilities use their county’s COVID-19 hospital admission level in combination with facility-level information (e.g., recent transmission inside the facility, the population’s risk for severe outcomes from COVID-19, and facility characteristics that could accelerate spread) to determine when to add and remove COVID-19 prevention strategies. More detail about facility-level information to factor into these decisions continues to be available in the corrections guidance document linked above.
      • CDC has released two detailed scientific reports explaining the reasons for the change from COVID-19 Community Levels to COVID-19 hospital admission levels, and describing the differences between the two:
    2. Intake testing for COVID-19 in correctional and detention facilities has been changed to an enhanced prevention strategy.
      • Previously, intake testing was a strategy for everyday operations, which meant it was recommended at all times. As of May 11, 2023, CDC recommends intake testing only when the COVID-19 hospital admission level is High, or when facility-level factors indicate increased risk. (See above for more information about COVID-19 hospital admission levels.)
    3. Healthcare staff within correctional and detention facilities should still use CDC’s healthcare infection control guidance for COVID-19 – this guidance has been updated as well.

BJA Office Hours Webinar

This “Office Hours” webinar with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) will discuss updates to COVID-19 guidance for correctional and detention facilities issued on May 11, 2023. Liesl Hagan, Senior Scientist for Correctional Health, CDC, and Sara Sullivan, Senior Policy Advisor, BJA, will discuss updated CDC guidance and answer questions.

Event Date and Time: May 17, 2023

Time: 03:30-04:00 PM ET

Location: Zoom

Register in advance for this webinar:

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar. Please note, this confirmation email will not automatically add a meeting invite on your calendar. Following registration, it is recommended to add a meeting reminder for May 17, 2023 from 03:30-04:00 PM ET with the Zoom link.

Contact BJA with questions or requests for more information about the BJA “Office Hours” at [email protected].

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