Michigan nursing homes and care facilities can allow more visits with restrictions

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Published: Sep. 10, 2020 at 5:53 PM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WJRT) - Michigan nursing homes and residential care facilities can allow restricted outdoor visits with residents under a new order from the Department of Health and Human Services.

Beginning Tuesday, nursing home and residential care facility residents can see their friends, families and loved ones outdoors. These would be the first in-person visits for many residents since the coronavirus pandemic began in March.

Facilities are not required to host visits and they can opt out entirely if they choose. The following are required for any visits:

  • No new confirmed cases of coronavirus at the facility for 14 days.
  • Appointments for visits must be set up with the facility in advance.
  • Only one or two people are allowed to visit at a time.
  • Nobody with a confirmed case of coronavirus or under observation will be allowed to visit.
  • Everyone taking part in the outdoor visits must remain 6 feet apart.
  • Facilities must provide adequate shelter from the weather.
  • Facilities must limit the number of visits to what they can safely hold.
  • An employee trained in infection control measures must be able to see the entire visits while they take place.

“Limiting visitation has saved lives and seeing loved ones in person is important for mental health,” said Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Director Robert Gordon. “Allowing outdoor visits – with proper procedures such as requiring social distancing and masks – is good for residents and can keep everyone safe.”

He pointed out that coronavirus spread has remained stable across Michigan since nursing home and care facility visitation was expanded last on June 30. As of last week, coronavirus outbreaks in the facilities dropped from 83 to 67.

Local health departments around the state have authority to impose stricter limits on nursing home visitation again if necessary. Visitations may be expanded later this year after state health officials see how the outdoor visitations go.

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