COLUMBUS, Ohio (WDTN) — Governor Mike DeWine gave more details regarding the state’s updated policies for nursing homes and assisted living facilities during Monday’s coronavirus briefing.
DeWine said that nursing homes and assisted living facilities are required to allow visitations as long all circumstances are met. During these visitations, vaccinated residents are allowed to have physical touch as long as masks are worn.
Those circumstances are:
- Unvaccinated residents, if the COVID-19 county positivity rate is greater than 10 percent and less than 70 percent of residents in the facility are fully vaccinated
- Residents with confirmed COVID-19 infection, whether vaccinated or unvaccinated, until they have met the criteria to discontinue transmission-based precautions
- Residents in quarantine, whether vaccinated or unvaccinated, until they have met criteria for release from quarantine
Visitors are also allowed in resident’s private rooms, where previously a special space was set aside for visitations. The governor said each visit will, at minimum, be 30 minutes long.
DeWine credits this change to the fact that nearly 90 percent of nursing home and assisted living residents are vaccinated against COVID-19.
“We’ll be asking nursing homes and assisted living to test vaccinated staff once per week,” said DeWine. “However, unvaccinated staff — that will be two times a week.”
According to the governor, in the event of an outbreak visitation could be limited or the rules could change.
Nursing homes in the area including Springfield’s Ohio Masonic said DeWine’s announcement is great news but there are some concerns they can’t ignore. The priority is keeping residents safe from spread.
“The hype about this new announcement and how it’s opening up is great but there’s still a lot of regulation to it that we’re going to have to navigate,” said President Tony Berardi.
Several nursing homes say they welcome visitors with open arms but certain concerns need to be addressed first. Concerns regarding private room visits, preventing potential spread from visitors and keeping the facility properly cleaned are being raised.
“Yes it’s open but there’s still some restrictions we have to abide by,” said Berardi.
Another facility raised similar concerns. Springfield Villa said in a statement:
We will look at the recommendations from the Governor, ODH, CDC and our Parent Company to determine the best way to proceed with visitations. We want to be able to open up as soon as possibly but we need to do it with the safety of our Residents and staff in mind. We have come a long way so far and want to keep everyone healthy and safe.”
Overall, facilities ask for the family’s patience sorting out the new guideline requirements.
“There is no facility out there that is having any restrictions placed on visitation with any malicious intent,” said Berardi. “Every facility is doing the right thing for residents, staff and families and a lot of these decisions are being made with so many factors.”
Berardi says some families have expressed frustrations with constantly changing guidelines but once everyone is on the same page, it will entirely benefit the residents.