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COVID-19 Public Health Guidance and Directives

Guidance and directives from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) related to COVID-19.

Table of Contents

EOHHS Congregate Care

Guidance for Congregate Care Programs

The Executive Office of Health and Human Services (EOHHS) issued guidance for organizations that operate congregate care programs and updated this guidance on March 22, 2021. Click here to view the guidance.

This audience includes group homes and residential treatment programs funded, operated, licensed, and/or regulated by:

  • The Department of Early Education and Care (DEEC),
  • Department of Children and Families (DCF),
  • Department of Transitional Assistance (DTA),
  • Department of Youth Services (DYS),
  • Department of Mental Health (DMH),
  • Department of Public Health (DPH),
  • Department of Developmental Services (DDS),
  • Massachusetts Commission for the Blind (MCB), or
  • Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission (MRC).

Congregate Care Surveillance Testing Guidance

On March 22, 2021, EOHHS issued revised surveillance testing guidance for organizations that operate residential congregate care programs, veteran’s shelters, and residential schools. EOHHS Congregate Care Surveillance Testing Guidance (this guidance replaces the December 31, 2020 guidance)

Congregate Care Infection Control Resources

Click here for infection control resources for Congregate Care Settings, developed through a partnership with Commonwealth Medicine, in coordination with the Executive Office of Health and Human Services (EOHHS), the Department of Public Health (DPH) and state agencies.

    Testing Guidance

    Health Care Professionals

    DPH Guidance for all health care organizations and providers, December 16, 2020: Considerations for Health Care Personnel After COVID-19 Vaccination

    DPH Guidance for all workers: Return to Work Guidance PDF | Doc, updated March 8, 2021.

    Bureau of Health Professions Licensure Licensees

    On April 9, 2020, Governor Charlie Baker issued two emergency orders to further support the health care workforce and expand its capacity: 

    On April 3, 2020, the Department of Public Health issued an emergency order expanding the availability of certain health care providers. Guidance: Licensing Changes during State of Emergency.

    DPH Guidance, April 12, 2021: Board of Pharmacy/Bureau Of Health Care Safety and Quality Guidance on LTCF Vaccination


    Clinicians who see patients with recent travel to areas with community transmission of COVID-19  who have a fever, lower respiratory tract symptoms (such as shortness of breath and cough), and/or contact with a known COVID-19 patient, should contact the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH) 24/7 at (617) 983-6800 for assistance. Further clinical guidance:

    In the event of an outbreak, all hospitals should be prepared for the possible arrival of patients with COVID-19. The CDC Hospital Preparedness Checklist outlines a number of important practices.

    Information about referrals to regional isolation and recovery sites is available on COVID-19 Isolation and Recovery Sites.

    Lab professionals

    DPH Guidance, January 25, 2021: Temporary Laboratory License for CLIA-waived COVID-19 Testing and Clinical Laboratory Alternate Sites

    On April 7, 2020, DPH issued guidance to clinical labs which (1) aligns the Massachusetts exempt test with all tests on the current list of CLIA waived tests; and (2) alleviates the need for certain providers to obtain a clinical laboratory license in order to conduct testing on their own patients. Massachusetts Clinical Laboratory Program – Changes to Exempt Test List and ​Definition of Physician


      Guidance from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) and the Board of Registration in Dentistry (BORID) in response to the Massachusetts COVID-19 State of Emergency. Download: Board of Registration in Dentistry COVID-19 Guidance

      Sexual and Domestic Violence (SDV) service providers

      Physician Assistants

      On March 18, 2020, the Department of Public Health issued an order regarding the flexible reassignment of Physicians Assistants: Guidance: Flexible Reassignment of Physician Assistants

      Advanced practice registered nurses (APRN)

      On March 26, 2020, the Department of Public Health issued an emergency order addressing independent prescriptive practice for advanced practice registered nurses: Guidance: Independent Practice of Advanced Practice Registered Nurses

      On April 9, 2020, Governor Baker issued an emergency order authorizing nursing practice by nursing school graduates and students in their final semester of nursing education programs. Order | Nursing Student Guidance

      School health professionals

      DPH guidance for school nurses and other school personnel:

      Temporary Nursing Agencies

      DPH guidance for registered temporary nursing agencies in Massachusetts:

      Health Care Organizations

      DPH Guidance for all health care organizations and providers, December 16thConsiderations for Health Care Personnel After COVID-19 Vaccination

      DPH guidance for all healthcare facilitiesUpdated Anterior Nares (Nasal Swab) Specimen Collection by Unlicensed Healthcare Personnel

      The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued emergency use authorization (EUA) for two monoclonal antibody therapeutics, bamlanivimab and etesevimab, administered together and REGEN-COV for treatment of early mild-to-moderate COVID-19 in high-risk patients. Hospitals, long term care facilities, dialysis providers, acute and urgent sites, and infusion sites may request monoclonal antibody therapies through the federal government or, if they need an urgent supply through DPH.  This guidance sets forth expectations for Massachusetts providers which elect to receive allocations of these COVID-19 therapeutics:  


      DPH asks hospitals carefully review guidance from the CDC with all healthcare personnel and continue to prepare to care for patients with suspected or confirmed COVID-19. In addition to sharing important CDC guidance, DPH has also issued guidance to acute and non-acute care hospitals, including: 

      Non-Acute Care Hospitals



      Out-Of-Hospital Dialysis Units

      DPH Guidance, November 6, 2020: Guidance Regarding Seasonal Influenza Vaccination of Healthcare Personnel at Massachusetts Out-of-Hospital Dialysis Units for the 2020-2021 Influenza Season

      Substance Addiction Service Providers

      DPH guidance:

      Emergency Responders & Law Enforcement

      DPH has shared important CDC guidance and has issued new advisories, emergency waivers and Statewide Treatment Protocols, and updates to administrative requirements for emergency medical services, including:


      For long term care facilities

      Signs for Facilities:

      DPH has issued guidance to long term care facilities and has shared important guidance from the CDC, including: 

      For assisted living residences

      For Early Intervention Providers

      Guidance for Massachusetts Early Intervention vendor agencies:

      MA EI Telehealth Policy for Specialty Providers:

      For in-home caregivers

      Guidance for agency based in-home caregivers & workers (e.g. Home Health Agencies, Personal Care Management Agencies, Home Care Agencies, Adult Foster Care, etc.): 

      Guidance for agencies working with the DPH Bureau of Family Health and Nutrition:

      Guidance for non-agency based in-home caregivers (e.g. PCAs, Independent Nurses, etc.): 

      For community day programs

      Guidance for community day program settings (e.g. Adult Day Health, Day Habilitation, Clubhouses, Councils on Aging, etc.):


      DPH guidance:

      Recreational Camps and Programs

      DPH guidance, March 23, 2021: Recreational Camps and Programs Health and Safety Standards for Reopening PDF | Doc

      Homeless Shelters

      Guidance and information for homeless shelter providers is available here: Homelessness Support During COVID-19.

      Referral information: COVID-19 Isolation and Recovery Sites

      Local government

      Guidance for Town Meetings to Address COVID-19 PDF | Doc

      Local Boards of Health

      DPH COVID-19 Information for Local Boards of Health includes updates on emergency orders, materials for communicating with the public, and shareable preparedness resources.

      Determination of Need (DON) 

      On March 24, the Department of Public Health issued an emergency order exempting certain activities from determination of need approval, that are necessary to address COVID-19. Updated Guidance (November 24, 2020): Requesting Determination of Need (DoN) Approval for projects related to COVID-19 during the State of Emergency.

      Guidance was issued on April 6 indicating no DoN dates will be assigned during the state of emergency for any application filed on or after March 10, 2020: Notice Regarding Determination of Need Applications Filed During the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency.