Defining Crisis Staffing Shortage in Congregate Care Facilities: COVID-19 - Minnesota Dept. of Health
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Defining Crisis Staffing Shortage in Congregate Care Facilities: COVID-19

Maintaining adequate staffing in congregate care facilities is essential to provide a safe environment for residents and staff. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, staffing shortages rose exponentially among congregate care settings. Facilities should be prepared for varying levels of staffing shortages, have contingency staffing plans in place, and ensure resident safety.

Health care facilities may need to implement crisis-level staffing strategies. These strategies could include allowing asymptomatic staff with confirmed COVID-19 to return to work in roles that provide direct care for residents with confirmed COVID-19. Staff with signs or symptoms of illness should not work, whether or not they are known to be COVID-19-positive. The criteria below must be met before allowing asymptomatic (not ill) staff with confirmed COVID-19 to work.

Criteria to establish staffing crisis

Below are criteria that must be met before asymptomatic staff known to have COVID-19 can be asked to return to work prior to meeting CDC’s return to work conditions for health care personnel with COVID-19.

  • The facility has activated its contingency staffing plan and has exhausted all options to address staffing needs, triggering a crisis level of staffing.
  • The facility has exhausted all options to cohort COVID-19-positive residents internally or transfer positive residents to COVID-19 care sites.
  • The only remaining approach to ensure adequate resident care and safety is to evacuate the facility.
A facility’s designation of crisis will be at the recommendation of the MDH team of subject matter experts closely working with the facility in need. COVID-19-positive staff cannot work if the facility does not have this designation.

Asymptomatic staff with confirmed COVID-19

If possible, staff should take on a non-direct resident care role (e.g., telemedicine, phone triage). If it remains necessary for staff with confirmed COVID-19 to continue providing direct resident care during the staffing crisis, they should:

Updated Thursday, 08-Jul-2021 09:46:56 CDT