New MDHHS Order Will Allow Outdoor Visits at Residential Facilities

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(From a Michigan Department of Health and Human Service press release)

People living in residential care facilities such as nursing homes soon will be able to see visitors outdoors under a new epidemic order signed today by Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) Director Robert Gordon that also requires precautions to protect against COVID-19.

The directive permits additional exceptions to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s order that temporarily restricts visits during the pandemic for the health and safety of residents, visitors and staff at health care, residential care, congregate care and juvenile justice facilities. The new order is effective next Tuesday, Sept. 15.

Prior to offering outdoor visits, facilities must assure that the visitation area allows for at least 6 feet separation between all people and provides adequate protection from weather elements. They must also assure someone trained in infection control will be within sight range to assure compliance with resident protection protocols.

Facilities must meet criteria specified in the order, including having had no new COVID-19 cases originate there within the previous 14 days.

To allow visitation, the facilities must, among other things:

  • Permit visits by appointment only.
  • Limit the number of visitors during each scheduled visit to two people or less.
  • Exclude visitors who cannot or will not wear a face covering during the entire visit.
  • Require visitors to maintain social distancing.
  • Limit the number of overall visitors at the facility at any given time based upon space limitations, infection control capacity and other appropriate factors to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission.
  • Prohibit visits to residents who are in isolation or under observation for symptoms of COVID-19.

Additional requirements can be found in the emergency order.

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