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Gov. DeWine updates order with new guidelines for nursing home, assisted living facility visitations

COVID-19 testing guidelines for staff also updated
Nursing home generic
Posted at 4:25 PM, Mar 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-22 16:25:51-04

COLUMBUS, Ohio — On Monday, Gov. Mike DeWine announced an updated order that will change some of the guidelines for visitations at nursing homes and assisted living facilities as well as testing requirements for staff at facilities across Ohio.

While the general visitation guidelines at nursing homes and assisted living facilities will remain the same—requiring scheduled appointments in advance, health screenings at the door, and face masks and coverings— some changes are being made.

In the previous order, visitations were permitted but not required to be offered by facilities. Under the new changes, nursing homes and assisted living facilities will be required whenever safety protocols can be met.

Residents being visited may also now have physical touch with their visitors while wearing a mask. Previously, physical touch such as hugs was discouraged.

Under the changes, visitations no longer have to be held in a special visitation area and can take place in a resident’s private room.

Visitors also are longer under the amended order, with a 30-minute minimum amount of time for a visit rather than a 30-minute maximum time frame.

Compassionate care situations will also expand from four qualifying instances to nine.

Testing of facility staff also is being updated in the amended order. Now, staff who are vaccinated will be required to be tested for the virus once per week, while unvaccinated staff will be required to be tested twice per week.

"We must continue regularly testing for the virus," said DeWine in a press release. "It’s just good science, and it will help us identify cases early and prevent the spread. Further, if COVID is controlled, that means less disruption to visitation."

While the state is offering new guidance for nursing homes and assisted living facilities in Ohio, each facility must also continue to follow federal regulations from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

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