Indoor visits allowed at nursing homes
Communal dining, exercise can also resume
STARTING FRIDAY, nursing homes can start allowing residents to meet with visitors indoors, to eat in communal dining halls, and to use indoor gyms or exercise spaces.
Nursing homes have been ground zero in the fight against COVID-19. There have been 6,011 COVID-19 deaths at the state’s long-term care facilities, nearly 66 percent of the 9,150 COVID-19 deaths in the state. At the beginning of the pandemic, all visits to nursing homes were halted. As the spread of infection slowed, outdoor visits were allowed.
The new guidance from the state Department of Public Health allows indoor visits, but only in a designated visitation space near the entrance to the facility that is big enough to allow the resident and guest, who are required to wear masks, remain six feet apart.The resident and the visitor can also have physical contact as long as hand sanitation is used before and after the contact. The guidance says the resident and visitor can “hug with faces in opposite directions.”
Nursing homes are required to check for COVID-19 symptoms of all guests, including taking their temperature. The facilities also cannot allow indoor visits, communal dining, or exercise if they have inadequate staffing or have inadequate supplies of personal protection equipment.