Gov. McMaster to release nursing home visitation guidelines soon

Updated: Aug. 19, 2020 at 7:10 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - It’s been more than five months since visitation restrictions went into place at nursing homes and assisted living facilities across the state to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Officials with the governor’s office said they plan to release nursing home visitation guidelines “very soon.”

They are working with the State Department of Health and Environmental Control to develop safety protocols to allow visitation.

Gov. Henry McMaster said he shares the frustrations of those who have not been able to visit their loved ones during the pandemic. During a committee meeting, Sen. Thomas Alexander expressed his concern.

"I pray that we'll use that as a top priority for us to get these families back engaged personally," Alexander said.

DHEC says they are working on a draft plan for when certain visitation restrictions may be lifted.

They are taking into consideration the most recent Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services recommendations for reopening. They are also looking at Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines.

DHEC says there are 129 nursing homes in the state who are taking advantage of a technology grant where they are able to connect with their families virtually. The grant was awarded by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

DHEC is also giving guidance for window visits to connect families face-to-face.

The governor’s office has not released a timeline of when visitation will begin at facilities in the state.

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