MDH releases new guidance for long-term care visitation

FILE - Residents at the Southern Pines nursing home are separated and wear face coverings during their daily bingo game in Warner Robins, Ga., on Thursday, June 25, 2020. “We’re going to have to run different for a long while,” says administrator Donna Stefano. “Otherwise it’s going to come back and next time we may not be so lucky.” Photo: AP/John Bazemore. FILE - Residents at the Southern Pines nursing home are separated and wear face coverings during their daily bingo game in Warner Robins, Ga., on Thursday, June 25, 2020. “We’re going to have to run different for a long while,” says administrator Donna Stefano. “Otherwise it’s going to come back and next time we may not be so lucky.”

Josh Skluzacek
Updated: October 12, 2020 12:07 PM
Created: October 12, 2020 12:01 PM

Monday, the Minnesota Department of Health released new guidance for long-term care visitation and activities at facilities in the state.

The new guidance, which aligns with guidance issued by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) last month, goes into effect Saturday.

Previous guidance labeled facilities in one of two categories: Level 1 or Level 2. Facilities were Level 1 if there'd been an exposure at the facility in the past 28 days or if certain risk factors warranted a higher level of possible COVID-19 exposure. Level 2 facilities hadn't had a COVID-19 exposure in the past 28 days.

The new guidance is now based on COVID-19 exposure in the past 14 days and will combine with community transmission rates to place facilities into one of three categories: low-risk, medium-risk or high-risk.

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Facilities in low and medium level community transmission areas must allow visitation unless there's a reasonable or clinical safety reason to not. The breakdown for the three categories is: 

  • Low-risk category (<5%): People who wish to visit should be allowed to do so, according to the core principles of COVID-19 infection prevention and facility policies.
  • Medium-risk category (5%–10%): People who wish to visit should be allowed to do so, according to the core principles of COVID-19 infection prevention and facility policies.
  • High-risk category (>10%): Visitation should only occur for essential caregiver and compassionate care situations according to the core principles of COVID-19 infection prevention and facility policies.

Facilities will still have to have a written testing plan based on MDH and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines. Testing of visitors will not be required of facilities but is encouraged by MDH in medium and high-positivity counties.

You can see the new guidance here.


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