March 15, 2021
THE FOLLOWING IS A GUIDE PROVIDED BY THE CENTERS FOR MEDICARE AND MEDICAID SERVCIES (CMS)
It is so great that your mom, dad or other loved ones have received their COVID-19 vaccine. This is an important step towards protecting their health, achieving herd immunity, and returning to normal life.
Both CMS and CDC recognize the importance of visiting your relatives as part of staying healthy. You can now visit your loved ones inside when the positivity rate in your nursing home’s county is less than 10%. In addition, if the positivity rate in your nursing home’s county is more than 10%, and less than 70% of residents in the facility are fully vaccinated, then only residents who are fully vaccinated should receive visitors.
In the case of an outbreak at a facility, indoor visitation is still possible, as long as COVID-19 transmission is contained to a single area of the facility.
If your loved one is fully vaccinated, they can choose to have close contact (including touch) with you as long as they are wearing a well-ftting face mask.
Outdoor visits are also safer when weather is good. You can check with your nursing home or local health department to fnd out more information on visiting your loved one. More information on CMS’ visitation guidance can be found here, including compassionate care visits and visitor vaccination.
We are constantly weighing the risks of spreading COVID-19 with the risks of expanding visitation. There are a few more steps before nursing homes can allow even more visitors.
Some nursing home residents and staff are not vaccinated or haven’t received their second doses. So, not everyone in a nursing home is protected from COVID-19 yet and could be infected by visitors.
Also, although a vaccinated person may not “feel” sick from COVID-19, they could be infected and/or spread the virus to others. For example, if a vaccinated resident contracts the virus from a staff member or visitor, that resident will likely be protected from the disease, but could put an unvaccinated resident or staff member at serious risk.
For now, nursing home staff, patients, residents, and visitors need to continue practicing the 3 W’s: Wear a mask, Wash your hands, Watch your distance. And, nursing homes must continue to implement all current CDC infection control guidance and adhere to CMS’ regulations and guidance for testing. As vaccination increases and COVID-19 cases decrease, we look forward to more visitation and social interaction among residents, friends, family, and lovedones. We will continue to learn and make updates to visitation over the coming months.
So what can you do in the meantime? Get the vaccine when it’s available to you. And do what you can to slow the spread of COVID-19. If you are vaccinated, then if asked, explain why you chose to be vaccinated.
The sooner we have more people vaccinated and fewer people getting sick, the sooner we can visit and hug the nursing home residents we love.
FOR MORE INFORMATION VISIT THE CDC WEBSITE HERE.