Updated DHSS Visitation Guidance

The guidance incorporates the new visitation guidance recently released by CMS as well previous guidance related to reopening, beauty and barber shop services, communal dining and group activities, and resident outings. In addition to updates to the visit guidance, several updates have been made in other areas as well, so please review carefully for the most up-to-date guidance. All prior guidance documents have been removed from the DHSS LTC COVID-19 webpage and replaced with this document.

Clarification on CMS Visit Guidance related to County Positivity Rates – CMS has provided clarification on this language in the visit document: Facilities should allow indoor visitation at all times and for all residents (regardless of vaccination status), except for a few circumstances when visitation should be limited due to a high risk of COVID-19 transmission (note: compassionate care visits should be permitted at all times). These scenarios include limiting indoor visitation for: Unvaccinated residents, if the nursing home’s COVID-19 county positivity rate is >10% and <70% of residents in the facility are fully vaccinated.

SLCR received questions regarding whether the county positivity rate of >10% referred to the actual positivity rate or to those counties designated as “red”. CMS has stated that the CDC’s county percent test positivity characterization methodology (color-coded system) may be used to determine how visitation should be implemented. Using the color-coded system, facilities in the “red” category should limit visitation for unvaccinated residents if <70% of residents in the facility are fully vaccinated.

Please note: both criteria need to be met before a facility should limit indoor visitation for unvaccinated residents – county positivity rate is >10% and <70% of residents in the facility are fully vaccinated.