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Oregon’s long-term care providers can host outdoor visits, under safety rules

Oregon DHS Department of Human Services
Oregon DHS

Residents also can leave and return, if they follow guidelines

SALEM, Ore. (KTVZ) – Oregon’s licensed long-term care providers may begin providing limited outdoor visitation for residents, if the facility develops a plan to adhere to required safeguards to prevent the spread of COVID-19, state officials said Monday.

Following the safety prerequisites --  including health screenings, face coverings, physical distancing and limits on the number of visitors  --  is mandatory, as Oregon continues to experience an increase in outbreaks at long-term care facilities, the Oregon Department of Human Services said.

"While visits with family and friends are essential to well-being, they also create significant risk, not only for the individual who is seeing a loved one, but for everyone who lives and works in that care facility," the announcement said.

The new DHS outdoor visitation policy applies to all facilities licensed by the Office of Aging and People with Disabilities including nursing, assisted living, residential and memory care facilities, as well as all adult foster homes.

But facilities that are currently coping with COVID-19 cases, or suspected cases, may not offer outside visitation until DHS determines that the outbreak has resolved, the agency said.

All current indoor visitation restrictions issued in March remain in place, regardless of the reopening plan status of the county where the facility is located; however, residents are free to leave and return to their facility, if they are following all public health guidance.

“We hope this policy provides some relief to residents, their family members and friends who we know have suffered extreme hardship as a result of visitation restrictions required during the pandemic," said Mike McCormick, interim director of the DHS Office of Aging and People with Disabilities.

"Balancing resident safety with the essential need to have contact with family and friends is challenging as COVID-19 presents life-threatening risks and spreads rapidly in congregate care settings,” McCormick said.

“We will continue to evaluate all long-term care policies, in partnership with Oregon Health Authority, to ensure they are in line with Governor Kate Brown’s reopening plan for the state.”


Article Topic Follows: Oregon-Northwest

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