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To balance physical, mental health, some residents of NC long-term care facilities can now have visitors

Posted June 29, 2020 3:20 p.m. EDT
Updated June 30, 2020 8:28 a.m. EDT

— Months after the statewide stay-at-home order included a ban on visitors to long-term care facilities, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services lifted that restriction just a bit for some.

Effective June 26, residents of a facility with seven or more beds where there are no current, reported cases of the novel coronavirus may welcome visitors, outdoors and at a distance of six feet or more. The change specifically excludes skilled nursing facilities, including combination skilled nursing/adult care assisted living facilities.

The state detailed requirements for facilities, residents and visitors in updated guidance issued Friday afternoon.

The state updates coronavirus data weekly from "congregate living settings," which include nursing homes, residential care facilities and correctional facilities. Through June 26, 8,605 confirmed cases of the virus and 767 deaths (out of 1,362 total) were recorded in those facilities. Eighty percent of those who have died of coronavirus in North Carolina have been over the age of 65.

Facilities must provide an outdoor meeting space that can be disinfected between uses and must screen visitors upon arrival. Residents and visitors must both wear a face covering throughout the visit.

COVID-19 outbreaks in NC long-term care facilities

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The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services started releasing locations of ongoing COVID-19 outbreaks in so-called congregate living settings, like nursing homes, adult homes and group homes, on April 27. The health agency defines an outbreak as two or more lab-confirmed cases in patients who weren't diagnosed with the disease before arriving at the facility. DHHS plans to update the data every Tuesday and Friday. Entries marked "**" indicate ongoing investigations by DHHS.

Source: N.C. DHHS // Updated: As of Sept. 15

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