Updated CDC COVID-19 guidance for correctional facilities

Summary of COVID-19 Guidance Updates

  • Link to updated guidance for correctional and detention facilities: Guidance on Management of COVID-19 in Homeless Service Sites and in Correctional and Detention Facilities | CDC
  • There are 3 updates to this guidance since the last version:
    1. COVID-19 Community Levels will no longer be used. They have been replaced by COVID-19 hospital admission levels. This update affects all CDC COVID-19 guidance, for all settings.
      • With the end of the PHE, the state-level COVID-19 testing data that CDC has used to calculate Community Levels are no longer available. However, hospital admission data will continue to be available and will be used to calculate county-level Low/Medium/High hospital admission levels.
      • You can find your county’s COVID-19 hospital admission level here: COVID-19 by County | CDC. Data are updated weekly.
      • The thresholds for Low/Medium/High COVID-19 hospital admission levels are the same as they were previously:
        • Low: <10 per 100k population
        • Medium: 10-19 per 100k population
        • High: 20+ per 100k population
      • In the COVID-19 corrections guidance, all references to COVID-19 Community Levels have been replaced by COVID-19 hospital admission levels. CDC recommends that facilities use their county’s COVID-19 hospital admission level in combination with facility-level information (e.g., recent transmission inside the facility, the population’s risk for severe outcomes from COVID-19, and facility characteristics that could accelerate spread) to determine when to add and remove COVID-19 prevention strategies. More detail about facility-level information to factor into these decisions continues to be available in the corrections guidance document linked above.
      • CDC has released two detailed scientific reports explaining the reasons for the change from COVID-19 Community Levels to COVID-19 hospital admission levels, and describing the differences between the two:
      • COVID-19 Surveillance After Expiration of the Public Health Emergency Declaration ― United States, May 11, 2023 | MMWR (cdc.gov)
      • Correlations and Timeliness of COVID-19 Surveillance Data Sources and Indicators ― United States, October 1, 2020–March 22, 2023 | MMWR (cdc.gov)
    2. Intake testing for COVID-19 in correctional and detention facilities has been changed to an enhanced prevention strategy.
    3. Previously, intake testing was a strategy for everyday operations, which meant it was recommended at all times. As of May 11, 2023, CDC recommends intake testing only when the COVID-19 hospital admission level is High, or when facility-level factors indicate increased risk. (See above for more information about COVID-19 hospital admission levels.)
    4. The COVID-19 Transmission Levels that used to guide decisions around source control in healthcare settings are also being discontinued, for similar reasons related to changing availability of COVID-19 testing data after the end of the PHE. For more information about this change to the healthcare guidance, visit Infection Control: Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) | CDC.
    5. Healthcare staff within correctional and detention facilities should still use CDC’s healthcare infection control guidance for COVID-19 – this guidance has been updated as well.