Issue: Death in the Home of COVID-19 Patient/Person Under Investigation (Added 3/19)

Question: In the case of death in the home of a patient with a positive diagnosis of COVID-19, what precautions should we take relative to care of the body to ensure protection of family members/caregivers and our staff?

Answer: Providers should be in contact with their state department of health, and the department will direct them accordingly, in this type of situation. For preparation purposes, we would suggest that the provider simply indicate in the plan that they will communicate with their state department of health at the time of death to obtain further instructions. There are several reasons for this, and the first and most significant is that this situation is ever evolving and it is the state departments of health that are getting the information first – from the CDC, CMS and other sources. Then within their state’s emergency response structure there will be further communication. It is important for all providers to remember that the CDC is only able to provide guidance in general and not specific to a state or local area’s guidance, which is likely more current and accurate. Providers should be following their EP programs and communicating with their coalitions. If that is not possible, they should get linked in to the most appropriate source by contacting their state department of health.