Governor Kelly issues Executive Order requiring COVID-19 testing in adult care homes

TOPEKA –Governor Laura Kelly today announced she has signed Executive Order #20-69, requiring COVID-19 testing in certain adult care homes, to enhance efforts to keep COVID-19 from entering and spreading through nursing homes.

“By implementing uniform testing guidelines for nursing facilities statewide, we create clarity on the testing practices that will protect adult care home workers, residents, and communities from the spread of COVID-19,” Governor Laura Kelly said.

The order will require facilities to test residents and staff based on parameters and a frequency set forth by the executive order. The order requires testing of staff and residents in state-licensed facilities that are classified as adult care homes under K.S.A. 39-923(a). The order does not apply to facilities that are regulated by the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services because those facilities are already subject to similar testing requirements.

The Executive Order outlines the routine testing requirements for adult care home staff based upon county positivity rates, monitoring and adjusting every other week, reported by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment. The minimum testing interval based on the county positivity rates are as follows:

  • Low (<5% positive test result rate) or Green – Once a month
  • Medium (5% – 10% positive test result rate) or Yellow – Once a week
  • High (>10% positive test result rate) or Red – Twice a Week

The guidance above represents the minimum testing expected. Facilities may consider other factors, such as the positivity rate in an adjacent county to test at a higher frequency than required.

“We thank Governor Kelly for her continued support via this executive order to prioritize adult care home staff and residents in the state’s COVID-19 testing strategy,” KDADS Secretary Laura Howard said. “This action gives us an opportunity to ensure our most vulnerable citizens and the staff critical to their hands-on care are afforded every protection needed to slow down or stop the entrance of this virus into our facilities.”

Facilities can meet the testing requirements by using rapid point-of-care (POC) diagnostic testing devices or through an arrangement with an offsite laboratory. For a facility to conduct these tests with their own staff and equipment (including POC devices provided by the Department of Health and Human Services), the facility must have a CLIA Certificate of Waiver.

Facilities without the ability to conduct COVID-19 POC testing should have arrangements with a laboratory to conduct tests to meet these requirements. Laboratories that can quickly process large numbers of tests with rapid reporting of results should be selected to rapidly inform infection prevention initiatives to prevent and limit transmission. Facilities have access to laboratories contracted with the State of Kansas through the “It’s Up to Us, Kansas” testing strategy. This access is established through December 30, 2020.

The order states that, regardless of the frequency of testing being performed or the facility’s COVID-19 status, the facility should continue to regularly screen all staff, each resident, and all persons entering the facility, such as vendors, volunteers, and visitors, for signs and symptoms of COVID-19.

The Executive Order further outlines guidelines for testing staff and residents with COVID-19 symptoms or signs, responding to an outbreak, refusal of testing, conducting tests, and reporting and documenting results.

Executive Order #20-69 becomes effective on Monday, December 14, 2020, and remains in force until rescinded or until the statewide State of Disaster Emergency expires, whichever is earlier.

View E.O. #20-69 here.