COVID-19 CMS Visitation Update | March 16, 2021

On Wednesday March 10th, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released a revised memo (QSO-20-39-NH) with updated guidance on visitation in nursing homes, including the impact of COVID-19 vaccinations.

Key Points from DHHS to Allowing Safe Visitation:
  • Outdoor visitation remains preferred, as they pose a lower risk of transmission due to increased space and airflow.
  • Visitations will be limited under the following high-risk circumstances:
    • County positivity rate greater than 10% and less than 70% of residents in facility are fully vaccinated
    • Residents with confirmed COVID-19 infection, regardless of vaccination status, until they have met criteria to discontinue transmission based precautions
    • Residents in quarantine, regardless of vaccination status, until they have met criteria for release from quarantine.
    • Facility in outbreak status must complete at least one (1) round of new outbreak testing with no newly identified cases.
  • Facilities will limit the number of visitors at one time through a scheduling method.
  • Visitors must be screened for symptoms associated with COVID-19 prior to visit.
  • Visitors must bring, and wear, proper face covering for the entire visit and remain six (6) feet from others or visitation will be declined.
  • Compassionate care visitations are allowed at all times.

Excerpt from QSO:

“… while adhering to the core principles of COVID-19 infection prevention, outdoor visitation is preferred even when the resident and visitor are fully vaccinated* against COVID-19.”

Over the last year we have been reminded of the true healing that comes through personal interaction such as a friendly smile, a warm hug or a simple touch of the hand; especially by our closest loved ones. As we approach the one-year anniversary of quarantine precautions in congregate settings we are encouraged that visitations may soon resume.

It is important to note, while our teams will be adhering to the guidance of CDC and practicing strict infection control, visitors should be aware of the potential for COVID-19 exposure in the facility and adhere to the core principles of COVID-19 infection prevention, including effective hand hygiene and use of face-coverings. 

Our team is dedicated to providing the best quality of life for the residents we serve. We continue taking precautions to protect our residents and staff, and we are committed to keeping you well informed about the care of your loved ones. If you have questions, concerns or comments regarding the updated guidance, please contact your facility administrator.
*Fully vaccinated refers to a person who is ≥2 weeks following receipt of the second dose in a 2-dose series, or ≥2 weeks following receipt of one dose of a single-dose vaccine, per the CDC’s Public Health Recommendations for Vaccinated Persons

Public Resources:

For information and public access to COVID-19 vaccines click the state below.

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