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

Updated congregate care surveillance testing guidance will go into effect on October 3, 2022.

Effective October 3, 2022:

  • EOHHS will transition to offer only over the counter (OTC) rapid antigen tests to all congregate care settings. Providers may use OTC rapid tests for surveillance, outbreak, or symptomatic/exposure testing. Lab-based molecular tests will no longer be available.

Effective January 1, 2023:

  • EOHHS will discontinue the distribution of testing supplies to provider-operated congregate care
  • Provider operated settings will be able to purchase their own testing supplies through the statewide rapid test contract and EOHHS encourages providers to coordinate bulk purchasing of testing supplies at a discounted rate
    • In preparation for this transition, EOHHS will distribute a 3-month supply of OTC rapid tests in December 2022 to all interested provider-operated settings

Guidance for Congregate Care Programs

Congregate Care Surveillance Testing Guidance

Effective October 3, 2022, revised surveillance testing guidance for organizations that operate residential congregate care programs, veteran’s shelters, and residential schools will go into effect. 

Guidance on Medication Administration in Congregate Care Facilities

PLEASE NOTE: As of August 15, 2022, all non-health care congregate care settings/residential programs and shelters should adhere to the Isolation and Exposure Guidance for the General Public.

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


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.

Lab professionals

Sexual and Domestic Violence (SDV) service providers

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

Non-Acute Care Hospitals


Dialysis Facilities

Substance Addiction Service Providers

Emergency Responders & Law Enforcement

DPH has issued guidance to emergency responders and has shared important guidance from the CDC, 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:

For in-home caregivers

For community day programs

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

For human service transportation

For hospice programs


DPH guidance:

Recreational Camps and Programs

DPH guidance: Recreational Camps and Programs Health and Safety Standards for Reopening

Homeless Shelters

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

Local government


  • Standing Order for Dispensing Over-the-Counter (OTC) Diagnostic Tests for SARS-CoV-2, issued November 16, 2022, pursuant to G.L. c. 94C, §19E.
    • This document replaces the order issued January 14, 2022.
  • DPH Guidance to implement the DPH Order regarding access to certain immunization information for insurance carriers and MassHealth.

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