DHSS has updated its guidance to reflect recent changes to CMS’ visitation guidance and to clarify and provide examples of those considered outside health care workers, which includes hospice workers (all disciplines). The changes include:
Visitor Vaccination Status
When both the resident and all of their visitors are fully vaccinated and while alone in a resident’s room or the designated visitation room, residents and their visitor(s) can choose to have close contact (including touch) and to not wear source control. Visitors should wear source control and physically distance from other healthcare personnel and other residents/visitors that are not part of their group at all other times while in the facility.
Visitors shall be given the opportunity to disclose their vaccination status to determine if the visitor may have close contact (including touch) and not wear source control while alone in a resident’s room or the designated visitation room, however the facility may not require visitors to disclose their vaccination status or to show proof of vaccination. Visitors that decline to disclose their vaccination status should adhere to the infection control principles of COVID-19 infection prevention for unvaccinated persons.
Outside Health Care Workers
Clarified and provided examples of outside health care workers and the expectation that outside healthcare workers must be permitted to come into the facility. Health care workers who are not employees of the facility, such as hospice workers (all disciplines), Emergency Medical Services (EMS) personnel, dialysis technicians, laboratory technologists, radiology technologists, social workers, clergy, etc., but provide direct care to the facility’s residents, must be permitted to come into the facility as long as they are not subject to a work exclusion due to an exposure to COVID-19 or showing signs or symptoms of COVID-19 after being screened.
Communal Dining and Group Activities
Fully vaccinated residents can participate in communal dining and group activities without use of source control or physical distancing. If unvaccinated residents are present, all residents should use source control when not eating and unvaccinated residents should continue to remain at least 6 feet from others.