Governor John Bel Edwards announced Friday that he is moving quickly allow visitations at nursing homes, however it comes with some stipulations.
On Thursday, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services issued new federal guidelines for nursing home visitation and Governor Edwards says the state is moving to implement the guidelines.
However the new guidelines do not relax all visitation restrictions. Nursing homes would be allowed to conduct outdoor visitation with social distancing. Nursing homes in parishes with no more than 10 percent test positivity and without any new COVID cases in the last 14 days can allow indoor visitation. Social distancing and face masks will be required.
“Recognizing the impact of isolation and the importance of connectedness, Louisiana’s Department of Health was slated to release details today of a nursing home visitation pilot in our state; instead, we will move quickly today to implement this new federal guidance,” Gov. Edwards said. “We know these past several months have been tough, especially for our nursing home residents and their loved ones. It’s time for us to do something. At the same time, we are still in the middle of a pandemic and these residents are among our most vulnerable. We all must do our part to make sure this new policy is successful. That means wearing our masks and staying six feet away from others, including when we visit our loved ones in nursing homes.”
A statement from the governor’s offices says, “To date, a total of 2,225 nursing home deaths have been identified in Louisiana. These deaths make up 43.4% of the all COVID-19-associated deaths in Louisiana. Nearly every nursing home in the state has had at least one COVID-19 case among residents or staff.”