Local facilities have not been given the go-ahead yet to proceed with visitations even though the state released the press release below allowing visitations. The regional liasons and their staff will still need to provide the visitation criteria and testing criteria for our local facilities before visitations will be allowed. Although family members will still have to wait, the first step has been taken toward resuming visitations. The health and safety of the residents and staff of each facility will be addressed by management of each facility as they work with their regional liasons of the Texas Health and Human Services Commission.
AUSTIN – Texas Health and Human Services Commission today, Aug. 6, announced limited visitation rules for nursing facilities and long-term care facilities.
Limited outdoor visitation is being allowed for nursing facilities, and limited indoor and outdoor visitation at assisted living facilities other than nursing homes. However, no physical contact will be allowed between visitors and residents.
“Access to family and loved ones is an important part of every resident’s health and well-being, which is why this policy shift is a move in the right direction for some of our most fragile Texans,” said Sen. Lois Kolkhorst (SD-18), Chair, Senate Committee on Health and Human Services.
“Today’s announcement is a critical first step for every person in a long-term care facility and their loved ones,” said Rep. James Frank (HD-69), Chair, Texas House Committee on Human Services. “This decision underscores that state leaders recognize the need to balance the emotional and physical health impacts of isolation against the serious dangers that COVID poses to these vulnerable Texans.”
Both nursing and extended living facilities will be required to meet certain conditions to be eligible for visitation.
There can be no confirmed positive COVID-19 cases in nursing facility staff in the last 14 days and no active positive cases in residents.
Any nursing facility that previously experienced an outbreak that has fully recovered must be adequately staffed and follow adequate infection control procedures. Facility staff are to be tested for COVID-19 weekly.
Enhanced emergency rules for nursing facilities also include:
- Each facility must have a COVID-19 response plan that includes designated staff to work with cohorts of residents who have tested positive for COVID-19, and staff should not change designation from one day to another, unless required to maintain adequate staffing for a cohort.
- All nursing facilities must screen all residents, staff, and people who come to the facility in accordance with specified criteria, and each resident must be screened at least three times a day for signs or symptoms of COVID-19.
- Each facility must have plans for obtaining and maintaining a two-week supply of personal protective equipment and resident recovery plans for continuing care when a resident recovers from COVID-19.
Long-term care facilities (except nursing facilities) must have adequate staffing to facilitate visitation in compliance with infection control requirements. Plexiglass is required as a safety barrier for indoor visitation to prevent spread of COVID-19.
Texas HHSC plans to continues investigating all long-term care facilities in the state that report one or more positive case of COVID-19, as well as coordinate closely with local, state, and federal health authorities.