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.
Additional Coronavirus information and resources:
Download the News 5 app for free to easily access local coronavirus coverage, and to receive timely and limited news alerts on major COVID-19 developments. Download now on your Apple device here, and your Android device here.
See complete coverage on our Coronavirus Continuing Coverage page.
Vaccinating Ohio - Find the latest news on the COVID-19 vaccines, Ohio's phased vaccination process, a map of vaccination clinics around the state, and links to sign up for a vaccination appointment through Ohio's online portal.
See data visualizations showing the impact of coronavirus in Ohio, including county-by-county maps, charts showing the spread of the disease, and more.
Rebound Northeast Ohio News 5's initiative to help people through the financial impact of the coronavirus by offering one place to go for information on everything available to help and how to access it. We're providing resources on:
Getting Back to Work - Learn about the latest job openings, how to file for benefits and succeed in the job market.
Making Ends Meet - Find help on topics from rent to food to new belt-tightening techniques.
Managing the Stress - Feeling isolated or frustrated? Learn ways to connect with people virtually, get counseling or manage your stress.
Doing What's Right - Keep track of the way people are spending your tax dollars and treating your community.
We're Open! Northeast Ohio is place created by News 5 to open us up to new ways of thinking, new ways of gathering and new ways of supporting each other.
View a map of COVID-19 testing locations here.
Visit Ohio's Coronavirus website for the latest updates from the Ohio Department of Health.
View a global coronavirus tracker with data from Johns Hopkins University.