COLUMBUS, Ohio — As Ohio continues to reopen its economy amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, one of the last things to remain prohibited has been nursing home visitation.
That will soon be changing.
On Monday, Gov. Mike DeWine announced that effective on July 20, nursing homes will be permitted to begin outdoor visitation, so long as all safety standards are met.
"My job as governor is to protect all Ohioans," DeWine said during his coronavirus briefing. "Part of that job means putting measures in place to keep people safe from COVID-19. It also means protecting those things that add value to life. Balance has been and remains the operative word in our efforts.
According to DeWine, when assessing their readiness to permit outdoor visitation, nursing homes should consider:
- Case status in community
- Case status in nursing home
- Staffing levels
- Access to adequate testing for residents/staff
- Personal protective equipment supplies
- Hospital capacity
"We are confident that our approach provides each facility the flexibility needed to assess their readiness to safely facilitate outdoor visitation -- and to do so in a transparent way that keeps residents and families informed," DeWine added.
The order and related guidance will be made available at coronavirus.ohio.gov. Should you have questions about visiting your loved ones, you can always contact the State Long-Term Care Ombudsman, an office within the Ohio Department Of Aging at 1-800-282-1206.
Last week, DeWine acknowledged that navigating safety protocols regarding nursing homes could prove difficult with 70 percent of Ohio's coronavirus-related deaths so far having come from nursing homes. The Governor also said that the state plans to take additional steps toward increasing testing in nursing homes after implementing the Ohio National Guard to aid in the process in May.