It wasn’t long ago when we reported that nursing home residents might not get to vote in the 2020 election. While that concerned many, for others, the question was simpler: when can I see my loved ones if they’re in a nursing home? Earlier this week, North Carolina residents finally got an answer to that question.
On Sept. 28, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services updated its guidelines to allow for indoor visitation in nursing homes. This move comes approximately three months after NCDHHS issued guidance allowing outdoor visitation only. What should you know about the change?
NCDHHS allows indoor visitation at each nursing home after progress with testing, infection control and slowing the spread.
“We have focused on protecting the health of nursing home residents since the start of this crisis,” NCDHHS Secretary Mandy K. Cohen, M.D., said. “Our progress in testing, infection control and slowing the spread of COVID-19 in our communities allows us to move forward with safe indoor visitation in accordance with federal guidance.”
Although this step is undoubtedly a blessing, it’s important to understand that it comes with limits. First, only nursing homes with no COVID-19 cases in the last two weeks will have indoor visitation.
Second, indoor visitations come only to counties with a percent positive testing rate of less than 10%. According to NCDHHS’s COVID-19 testing dashboard, only four counties have a percent positive testing rate above 10%: Greene, Nash, Richmond, and Scotland.
Even with limitations, North Carolina residents are simply grateful for the time they’ll get with their loved ones.
Nevertheless, nursing home owners, nursing home residents and loved ones have praised the NCDHHS decision.
“It won’t be normal normal for a long time,” Justin LuQuire, the owner of Coastal Cove Assisted Living in Wilmington, told WWAY3. “But the families are coming back, that in itself has been a huge missing piece across the board. They live for that. They live for lunch and they live for their family.”