Nursing homes and senior care services will soon be facing new guidelines required by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) in reporting cases for the novel coronavirus in patients.

Facilities will soon be required to notify patients, families and health officials in someone under their care tests positive for the virus. Currently, reporting to the Center of Control Disease (CDC), has been optional and will change in response to the new public health concerns, stated by Seema Verma Administrator for the Medicare and Medicaid Services during a press conference on April, 19.

Nursing homes are at great risk for potential outbreaks during the pandemic. The Resort in Texas City, a nursing home in Galveston County had an outbreak with a total of 83 patients and employees testing positive for the virus during the first week of April.

The new guidelines will require nursing homes to notify all patients and employees within 12 hours when an infectious disease is reported in their facility and provide updates on the situation on a weekly basis or when three or more cases are reported within three days.