NewsCovering Louisiana


LDH relaxes nursing home, residential care facility visitation guidance

Nursing homes
Posted at 5:13 PM, Mar 12, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-12 18:13:24-05

The Louisiana Department of Health Friday announced that it is instructing all nursing and adult residential care facilities to follow the guidance issued this week by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), further relaxing visitation policies in congregate facilities.

Due to the federal vaccine rollout and lower COVID-19 positivity rates, CMS guidance allows facilities to safely expand visitation options during the pandemic.

"Since restrictions were initially relaxed last October, the visitation program has gone remarkably well. We thank Louisianan facilities for their good work in creating safe environments for our most vulnerable residents and are thrilled to expand visitation further," said Dr. Joseph Kanter, State Health Officer.

Under the updated guidance, facilities should allow responsible outdoor visitation at all times for all residents, regardless of a resident's or visitor's vaccination status, except for:

  • Parishes where the positivity rate is greater than 10% and less than 70% of residents in the facility are fully vaccinated,
  • Residents with confirmed COVID infections, whether vaccinated or unvaccinated, until after the isolation period, or
  • Residents in quarantine because they have been exposed to a positive case, whether vaccinated or unvaccinated, until they have met the criteria for release from quarantine.

Facilities should continue to practice COVID infection control procedures, including social distancing and conducting visits outdoors whenever possible, as this is the safest way to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

The State Health Officer's orders can be viewed here and here.

Federal health officials on Wednesday issued updated guidance on easing nursing home visitation restrictions as a significant portion of those living in nursing homes have become fully vaccinated against the coronavirus.

We recently visited one Lafayette assisted living facility, where visitation is expected to begin again on March 17 after all the residents received their vaccines.

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