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Visitors allowed at senior homes again
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By Joseph Rios

Part II of VI Back to Business

Facilities throughout Colorado that are home to one of the most vulnerable populations to COVID-19 will allow visitations again for the first time in months.

Last week, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment released guidelines that will allow outdoor visitation at residential care facilities.

In order for a residential care facility to allow an outdoor visitation, the facility cannot have any active COVID-19 cases. Additionally, all visits must be scheduled before the visit, facilities must provide information about COVID-19 and instructions for self-screening on the day of the visit, according to a release from the state.

Visitors of residential care facilities must wear a face mask or cloth face covering and all staff and the resident must wear a surgical or cloth mask. The state will require residential care staff members to perform temperature checks and symptom screening that aligns with current Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines.

Each residential care facility is required to document their outdoor visitation policies and add it to their isolation plan. After each visit, furniture is required to be cleaned and disinfected and there cannot be more than eight people in the gathering. Residential care facilities are required to establish a separate designated meeting area outdoors for visitations. The state is expecting the outdoor area to be monitored to ensure it is separated from the facility population and staff.

“We know that these restrictions — and the resulting isolation — have been hard on the residents in these facilities. But we know the restrictions, while hard, helped minimize the impact of outbreaks,” said Randy Kuykendall, director of the health facilities and EMS Division at the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. “Because of the success of our collaborations between state and local health departments and residential care facilities in state, we are pleased to offer some safe ways for residents to receive visitors.”

The state said that if there is an increase in cases and if data suggests visitations are no longer safe, it may change or no longer allow visitations.

As of June 29, there have been 32,307 COVID-19 cases in the state. State date says 1,482 people have died because of COVID-19 in Colorado. Residents who are 80 years or older have accounted for 53.52 percent of COVID-19 related deaths. People who are in the age group of 20 to 29 have accounted for the highest percentage of COVID-19 cases in the state. Denver has the highest amount of COVID-19 cases in the state, accounting for 7,007 cases of the virus.

Dozens of nursing homes in Colorado have had COVID-19 outbreaks since the pandemic started. The state defines an outbreak as two or more confirmed cases of COVID-19 in a facility or group with onset in a 14 day period.





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