NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Tennessee Department of Health and Governor Bill Lee’s Unified Command Group are announcing new initiatives to ease COVID-19 restrictions on long-term care facilities.
According to TDH, the efforts include expanding options for visitation, relaxing restrictions for resident interactions, and the formation of a ‘Long-Term Care Task Force.’
“The health and safety of vulnerable Tennesseans, especially our long-term care residents, remains our top priority, and our comprehensive and persistent efforts to protect this population from COVID-19 have saved lives,” said Tennessee Health Commissioner Dr. Lisa Piercey, “It’s time to reunite residents and their families in a safe and disciplined manner so we can better balance the physical and emotional needs of older Tennesseans.”
Beginning October 1, facilities that have gone at least 14 days with no new COVID-19 cases among residents or staff will immediately be allowed to offer outdoor or limited indoor visitation with residents. The visits will require maintaining strict precautions including wearing masks, physical distancing, environmental disinfection, and possibly testing of visitors.
If a facility reports no new cases for 28 days, it will be allowed to offer an essential caregiver program to allow for designated individuals to assist with daily living activities including feeding, bathing, and dressing. However, ife a facility has new COVID-19 cases among residents or staff, the expanded visitation allowances will be suspended until the facility is infection-free for at least 14 days.
The eased restrictions will also allow for social activities and visits from non-healthcare personnel such as barbers and beauticians. These activities will only be allowed for residents who do not have COVID-19 in facilities that have had no new cases for 14 days. The use of masks, physical distancing, and capacity limits will be required.
The new ‘Tennessee Long-Term Care Task Force’ will develop and implement new policies to address immediate and future issues impacting the facilities and residents during the COVID-19 pandemic. TDH said the first objective will be to monitor the safety and effectiveness of the expanded visitation and activity guidelines and refine them as necessary.
For more information, click here to read more at the TDH website.
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COVID-19 in Tennessee
(This reflects what the TDH is reporting each day at 2 p.m. CST )