Nursing homes, personal care homes and other long-term care providers in the green phase of the state’s reopening plan will continue to have ongoing restrictions for at least 28 days after transitioning to green, according to the Pennsylvania departments of Health and human Services.
The Wolf Administration announced on Friday that it will continue to enforce visitation restrictions on long-term and congregate care facilities to help prevent further outbreaks among Pennsylvania’s most vulnerable populations.
The Department of Health initially issued COVID-19 guidance to facilities on March 18, which included regulations related to visitor limitations and personnel restrictions.
While hospitals in green counties may begin to allow limited visitations, the state plans to continue to enforce regulations at senior care facilities for what could be longer than the initial 28 days announced on Friday, said Teresa Miller, secretary of the Department of Human Services (DOH).
“We must remain vigilant and be deliberate about our actions even as we begin to reopen,” Miller said. “Green does not mean all clear for anyone, and COVID-19 is still a threat, especially for those who are medically fragile and vulnerable. This virus is not gone, and mitigation efforts are still necessary to keep people safe.”
Miller added that that the DOH understands how difficult and isolating the restrictions can be for residents of long-term care facilities and their families and have issued a number of recommendations for families trying to keep in touch with their loved ones.
The department asks facilities to promote that their residents arrange meetings with family and friends through a window or glass door, use software like FaceTime, Skype, Zoom meetings and Facebook Messenger and communicate through phone calls, emails and virtual assistant technology like Amazon’s Alexa or Google Home.