Assisted living communities and other long-term care facilities in Colorado will be required to use polymerase chain reaction, or PCR, tests for ongoing weekly surveillance testing of all staff members and residents who leave a facility, effective Nov. 20, according to an updated public health order issued by the state Department of Public Health and Environment.

The order also will require outbreak testing of all residents and staff, regardless of symptoms, if there is any single positive test result within a community.

Facilities located in a county with a positivity rate of 10% or higher will be required to increase testing to twice weekly until the positivity rate in that county falls below 10% for two consecutive weeks.

The order also clarified that facilities must allow certain people to enter, as long as they comply with testing and screening protocols, regardless of whether a facility offers indoor visitation. Those people include essential healthcare service providers, religious representatives, adult protective services professionals, representatives of the long-term care ombudsman’s office, “compassionate caregivers,” emergency medical and service personnel, and designated support people.

The state partnered with Curative Labs, a national COVID-19 testing company, to help facilities meet the new testing requirements. The state will provide test kits to all residential care facilities at no cost.