State releases updated public health order for residential care visitation

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    Colorado Department of
    Public Health and Environment

    The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) recently released an updated public health order and guidance for indoor visitation at residential care facilities serving older adults and people with disabilities. The new guidance allows for indoor visitation with enhanced safety precautions.

    As the safer option, facilities should continue outdoor visits if weather permits and the resident is able to participate. Indoor visitation for family and friends is now permitted at facilities that meet all of the following criteria: 

    • Must be located in a county that has less than 10 percent average two-week positivity rate as determined by utilizing the COVID-19 dial dashboard.

    • Must implement ongoing weekly COVID-19 surveillance testing as required for all staff and residents. Surveillance testing is done to identify the presence of COVID-19 in people before they have symptoms of illness. Surveillance testing is an important tool in stopping the spread of COVID-19 in facility settings. 

    • Must not be experiencing a current COVID-19 outbreak nor have any other ongoing infectious disease outbreak, such as flu or norovirus.

    • Must maintain a 14-day supply of all necessary personal protective equipment.

    • Must maintain adequate staffing levels and provide ongoing training in the latest COVID-19 prevention protocols. 

    The public health order also reinforced that the following groups must be permitted to enter facilities with safety precautions: 

    Essential health care service providers (physicians, hospice, and home health staff of all disciplines, along with other types of medical and nonmedical health care and services).

    • Religious exercise.

    • Adult Protective Services.

    • Long-term care ombudsman.

    • Designated support persons (must be screened and may be offered testing).

    • Compassionate Care Visitation.

    • Emergency medical and service personnel (neither screening nor testing required and no delays from response or access in carrying out duties).

    “The updated guidance balances the need to be as safe as possible in facilities that continue to be at highest risk — with the need for visitations. We know that visitations are critical to the health and wellbeing of those served by the facilities, so we are proceeding cautiously, and we will continue to closely monitor and respond to the situation,” said Randy Kuykendall, director, Heath Facilities and EMS Division, CDPHE.

    Continue to stay up to date by visiting covid19.colorado.gov.