ALTSA: NH #2022-007 – ALTSA: ALF #2022-002: Updates From the CDC and DOH on the Increased Transmissibility of the SARS-CoV-2

ALTSA: NH #2022-007 – ALTSA: ALF #2022-002: Updates From the CDC and DOH on the Increased Transmissibility of the SARS-CoV-2

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Washington State Department of Health (DOH) guidance updated due to concerns about increased transmissibility of the SARS-CoV-2 Omicron variant.

CDC Update Summary:

  1. Ensure that SARS-CoV-2 testing is performed with a test that can detect SARS-CoV-2 variants currently circulating in the United States.
  2. Updated definition of higher-risk exposure to include when a healthcare worker wears a facemask (instead of a respirator) when caring for an infected person who is not wearing a facemask or cloth mask.
  3. Updated return to work recommendations for healthcare personnel (HCP) infected or exposed to SARS-CoV-2. Added options include:
  4. Allowing asymptomatic HCP diagnosed with SARS-CoV-2 to return to work in 10 days, or in 7 days with a negative COVID-19 test IF:
  5. The negative test was done 48 hours before returning to work; AND
  6. The HCP is asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic with improving symptoms.
  7. Allowing asymptomatic HCP exposed to SARS-CoV-2 to:
  8. If boosted – Have no work restrictions and negative test at 2 and 5-7 days.
  9. If vaccinated or unvaccinated – Return to work in 10 days or 7 days with a negative COVID-19 test 48 hours before return.

DOH Update Summary:

  1. Maintaining appropriate staffing in health care facilities is essential to providing a safe work environment for HCP and safe patient care. Health care facilities may choose to implement contingency capacity staffing and crisis capacity staffing. CDC’s Strategies to Mitigate Healthcare Personnel Staffing Shortages offer a continuum of options for addressing staffing shortages.
  2. During HCP staffing shortages facilities, should follow guidance from CDC:
  3. Preventing illness among HCP is a key component of mitigating staffing shortages. DOH strongly encourages all HCP to get a booster dose of vaccine and for health care employers to make access to booster doses of vaccine available onsite for their employees. HCP should also get a yearly influenza vaccination.

    Read full letter here.



Laura Hofmann, MSN, RN – Director of Clinical and Nursing Facility Regulatory Services
c: 425-231-4804


January 12, 2022