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Indoor visits to resume at Ohio nursing homes

Order to go into effect October 12
Published: Sep. 24, 2020 at 5:31 PM EDT
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COLUMBUS, Ohio (WTAP) - In the next few weeks, indoor visits will be allowed at Ohio’s long-term senior and intermediate care centers.

The Ohio Department on Aging announced Thursday, during Governor Mike DeWine’s news briefing, visitors will be allowed in nursing homes and assisted living centers beginning October 12.

Outside visits were reinstated this past summer, although the change to cooler weather prompted the latest order.

At the same time, the Department of Developmental Disabilities said inside visitors will be allowed at their facilities beginning September 28.

In both situations, buildings will have to abide by rules about the number of visitors allowed, as well as sanitation and use of personal protective equipment.

“It’s important for everyone to know that indoor visitation does not signal that we can be less cautious," said Department on Aging Director Ursel McElroy. "What it means is that each of us, residents, family and staff need to be even more vigilant in practicing the very basic yet very critical practices that limit the spread of this virus.”

The dates were selected to allow adequate time for the facilities to prepare their physical plants, adjust staffing levels, update visitation policies, and communicate expectations with residents and families.

When visitation resumes, a Long-Term Care Facility Dashboard will be added to the COVID-19 data dashboard at coronavirus.ohio.gov where users can access facility-specific visitation information.

Governor DeWine announced today that Ohio’s ResponsibleRestart guidelines for higher education will now include a recommendation that all residential colleges and universities regularly test a sample population of asymptomatic students.

“Some schools are already doing this, and screening asymptomatic students really gives school leaders a good idea about virus spread on their campuses,” said Governor DeWine. “Our expectation is that colleges and universities will screen at least 3 percent of their at-risk population on a regular basis.”

Governor DeWine, meantime, says the number of counties in the next-to-highest COVID-19 alert level (red) is now at nine.

Counties in our area, including Washington, Athens, Morgan, Noble and Monroe, remain at their levels of a week ago.

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