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New Law Mandates Outbreak Plan

August 20, 2019

All long-term care facilities in New Jersey must develop and submit an illness outbreak response plan to the state’s Department of Health according to a bill signed into law by Gov. Phil Murphy last week, McKnight’s Long-Term Care News reports.

The law is in response to an adenovirus occurrence that was responsible for the death of 11 children who were residents of the Wanaque Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation in Haskell, N.J. last fall. The outbreak affected 36 children and one staff member at the long-term care facility for ventilator-dependent patients.

The new law focuses on the creation of infection control practices such as facility cleaning and maintenance as well as patient isolation. At a minimum, it requires that facilities develop an outbreak response plan that sets up a protocol for isolating infected and at-risk patients in the event of an epidemic of a life-threatening, contagious disease until the threat is gone. The protocol must include a plan for notifying residents, families, visitors, and staff about outbreaks and reporting the incident to public health officials.

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