Good news for Ohioans in assisted living facilities. COVID-19 lockdown rules that prevented relatives from seeing their loved ones in person for over two months will be relaxed.
Governor Mike DeWine said, “We know that it’s becoming more and more difficult for people. It’s caused a great deal of heartache for the residents and for those who want to come in and visit them.”
Outdoor Visits Only
Starting on June 8th, DeWine said families can resume visits to their loved ones in assisted living facilities. There is a catch. Those visits must be held outdoors.
Outdoor visits can also resume to facilities that house Ohioans with developmental disabilities. The governor said, “Our decision to move forward is the culmination of many things including impact on the quality of life and what a prolonged loss of connection can have on individuals.”
No Nursing Home Visits
However, the governor said there’s no date yet for when people in nursing homes can once again have visitors.
“We are not to nursing homes yet. I know that causes anguish for people watching this. We’re trying to do this so we don’t increase the COVID inside nursing homes. We will do it under protocol that the health department is putting out.”
Ohio’s nursing homes were devastated by COVID-19. At least 78% of the state’s 2,098 deaths were in Ohio’s nursing homes and assisted living facilities.
Ramping Up Testing
DeWine said, “This is a very difficult issue. We know the problems connected with COVID-19 getting into a nursing home.” He said the state would slowly being to open things up. “We are going to try to do this in stages and see how this works,” DeWine said that each individual facility will decide the best way to implement the outdoor visits.
State workers will start going into nursing homes on Monday to administer tests to all nursing home residents in the state. Additionally, Ohio has expanded its testing guidelines to include anyone in the community who is showing symptoms of COVID-19.
The Ohio Pharmacy Board has also clarified its guideline to allow pharmacists across the state to order and perform COVID-19 tests.