COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Ohio Governor Mike DeWine announced beginning July 20 nursing homes will be permitted to begin outdoor visitations.
“It is our goal to have people be able to visit their family in nursing homes across Ohio,” DeWine said. “We believe that with the proper precautions, that this visitation, which family members tell me and I can fully understand, is just very, very important to their loved one and their well being.”
DeWine said nursing homes should assess the following to determine their readiness to allow outdoor visitations:
- Consider the number of COVID cases in the community
- The case status in the nursing home itself
- Staffing levels
- Access to adequate testing for residents and staff
- Personal protection equipment supplies
- Local hospital capacity
“We realize that the lack of in-person engagement with family and friends who live outside of these congregate settings may significantly diminish a person’s quality of life who is in one of these facilities making visits necessary to address the person’s emotional wellness while safely managing potential physical health risks,” DeWine said.
On June 8, assisted living and intermediate care facilities were permitted to facilitate outdoor visitations. DeWine added the state is in the process of testing every nursing home in Ohio.
DeWine said the Ohio National Guard is making progress toward the long-term goal of testing every nursing home facility, which includes testing staff members as well.
“We’re working with the nursing homes to make sure that happens,” DeWine said. “As far as the visitation, once the nursing home has been cleared, once the testing has been taken place, then that nursing home can in fact start opening up for visitation.”
DeWine said they looked at allowing visitations in nursing homes for the past few months before making this decision.
“We are now a number of months into this, which simply means there are a lot of people who have been locked up and cannot have visits from their family,” DeWine said. “It weighed heavy on me . . . on the one hand, you do not want to introduce the virus into the nursing home. But on the other hand . . . [people] just say that their loved one is going downhill in the nursing home.”