Governor Mike DeWine announced on March 22, that the Ohio Department of Health will issue an updated order related to assisted living facilities and nursing homes. The general visitation requirements will remain the same, including the requirement that visitors schedule appointments in advance, are screened at the door, and wear masks.
- Ohio is requiring that visitation be permitted whenever safety protocols can be met. Previously, visitation was permitted, not required.
- Vaccinated residents may have physical touch with their visitor while wearing a mask. Previously, touch was discouraged.
- Visits may occur in a resident’s private room, as opposed to the previous requirement of a separate visitation area.
- Thirty (30) minutes should serve as the minimum amount of time for a visit. Previously, 30 minutes was the maximum time to visit.
The order will also expand the circumstances in which compassionate care visits should be granted.
In addition, the order will update nursing home and assisted living testing requirements to require the facilities to test vaccinated staff once per week and unvaccinated staff twice per week. The previous order made no distinction between vaccinated or unvaccinated staff.
“We must continue regularly testing for the virus,” said Gov. DeWine. “It’s just good science, and it will help us identify cases early and prevent the spread. Further, if COVID is controlled, that means less disruption to visitation.”
Certain circumstances, such as a facility outbreak, may necessitate that visitation be restricted on a case-by-case basis. Nursing homes must also continue following federal regulations from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.