ARCHIVED WEBPAGE: This web page is available for historical purposes. CDC is no longer updating this web page and it may not reflect CDC's current COVID-19 guidance. For the latest information, visit CDC's COVID-19 home page.

Important update: Healthcare facilities
CDC has updated select ways to operate healthcare systems effectively in response to COVID-19 vaccination. Learn more
To maximize protection from the Delta variant and prevent possibly spreading it to others, get vaccinated as soon as you can and wear a mask indoors in public if you are in an area of substantial or high transmission.
Given new evidence on the B.1.617.2 (Delta) variant, CDC has updated the guidance for fully vaccinated people. CDC recommends universal indoor masking for all teachers, staff, students, and visitors to K-12 schools, regardless of vaccination status. Children should return to full-time in-person learning in the fall with layered prevention strategies in place.

Retirement Communities and Independent Living Facilities FAQs

Retirement Communities and Independent Living Facilities FAQs
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FAQs for Administrators

Planning and Preparedness

Encourage residents and staff to take everyday preventive actions to prevent the spread of respiratory illnesses. Actions include staying home when sick; appropriately covering coughs and sneezes; cleaning and then disinfecting frequently touched surfaces; and washing hands often with soap and water.

Administrators should take the following actions to prevent a COVID-19 outbreak in their community or facility:

  • Promote social distancing
    • Cancel public or group activities and events
    • Inform workers and volunteers to avoid close contact with residents
    • When possible, limit visitors and volunteers to essential persons
    • Advise residents to stay home and avoid public places
    • Alter schedules to reduce mixing (e.g., stagger meal, activity, arrival/departure times)
  • Support residents in preparing
    • Establish the ‘buddy’ system to ensure residents stay connected.
    • Encourage residents to have extra medications and supplies.
    • Identify residents with unique needs and work with them to tailor these strategies.
    • Find ways to support residents in managing stress and anxiety.
    • Inform residents using print materials and high-visibility posters
  • Encourage everyone to take everyday preventive actions to prevent the spread of respiratory illnesses.
    • Cover coughs and sneezes
    • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces
    • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
    • Ensure hand hygiene supplies (e.g., hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol) are readily available in all buildings.
  • Monitor for cases and take action when someone is sick.
    • Screen workers and when possible volunteers
    • Ask residents to self-monitor for symptoms
    • Review the usual absenteeism patterns at your facility among staff, so you can identify if the rate of absenteeism increases.
    • Implement flexible sick-leave policies and actively encourage sick employees to stay home
    • Coordinate with local health facilities if you suspect a resident or staff member may have COVID-19

Share resources with the community to help them understand COVID-19 and steps they can take to protect themselves:

Clean high-touch surfaces and objects regularly (for example, daily or after each use) and after you have visitors in your home. Focus on high- touch surfaces and objects (doorknobs, tables, light switches, phones, remote controls and countertops) with cleaners that you typically use. Practice strict infection control procedures if there is a case in your facility.

Follow CDC’s Cleaning Recommendations for Communities.

If there is a case in the facility

Ask residents to actively monitor (at least daily) for COVID-19 symptoms, including fever and respiratory symptoms (shortness of breath, new or change in cough). Administrators should work with local health authorities to establish procedures for those who become sick. Sick residents should avoid contact with individuals who are healthy. If you think someone may have COVID-19, ask them to self-isolate and you should contact local health officials.

Work with local health authorities to communicate the possible exposure to residents, staff, and visitors. Clean and disinfect all shared facilities and high-touch surfaces. Limit visitors to essential staff  and visitors. Staff and, when possible, visitors should be screened for signs and symptoms of COVID-19 before entering the facility. Residents will need to actively monitor their health for COVID-19 symptoms. Cancel group activities. Residences that become ill should be advised to call the medical facility in advance of their visit. See CDC’s full interim guidance for more details.