22 long-term care facilities approved for indoor visitation

DOVER — As of Friday, 22 long-term care facilities had been approved by the Delaware Department of Health and Social Services to begin allowing indoor visits for residents and their loved ones.

The state announced indoor visitation with approval could begin on Sept. 8 in an effort to reopen facilities after restrictions put in place to help curb the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Facilities must have not had a new positive COVID-19 case originate within the last 14 days and “have adequate staffing to meet the needs of residents” to be eligible to submit a plan for approval, per the DHSS.

The facilities approved for visitation include 14 assisted living facilities and eight skilled nursing facilities. Nine of the 22 approved facilities are in Kent or Sussex counties.

The downstate assisted living facilities approved for indoor visitation include Brookdale Dover, Dover Place, Milford Place-Envilant, OakBridge Terrace at Manor House in Seaford, State Street Assisted Living in Dover and Westminster Village Health Center in Dover.

Three downstate skilled nursing facilities have also been approved — The Center at Eden Hill in Dover, Westminster Village Health Center Nursing Home in Dover and WillowBrooke Court Skilled Center at Manor House in Seaford.

Per DHSS regulations, indoor visits are limited to one to two people per resident and are by appointment only. Visits must occur in a visitation room near an entrance.

Visitors and residents must also wear face masks at all times during the visit and maintain social-distancing of at least 6 feet and must not have contact with the resident they are visiting, according to DHSS guidelines. Staff monitor visits to ensure compliance and disinfect the area between visits.

Any visitor is strongly encouraged to be tested before visiting an approved long-term care facility, but is ultimately at the discretion of each family, the DHSS said.

Visitation was suspended at Delaware’s 88 long-term care facilities in mid-March, when the state’s first positive COVID-19 case was announced. Long-term care facilities were permitted to have outdoor visitation beginning in June, if their plans were approved by the DHSS.

There have been a total of 1,266 positive COVID-19 cases cumulatively involving long-term care residents as of 6 p.m. Thursday, according to the Delaware Division of Public Health.

Long-term care residents make up 375 of Delaware’s 633 COVID-19 related deaths (59%) as of 6 p.m. Friday, according to the DPH.
As the state began to approve visits, it was also monitoring new cases.

The DPH reported Friday it was investigating COVID-19 outbreaks in several long-term care facilities throughout the state. Facilities where significant ongoing outbreaks are occurring include:

• Kentmere Rehabilitation and Health Care Center in Wilmington — 28 residents and 24 staff members

• Cadia Healthcare Silverside in Wilmington — 19 residents and less than 10 staff members

• Country Rest Home in Greenwood — 18 residents and 14 staff members.

“While the source of exposure in these outbreaks is still under investigation, visitation activities do not appear to be contributing to the spread of illness as indoor visitation has not been implemented at any of the impacted facilities. In addition, availability of personal protective equipment (PPE) also does not appear to be a driving factor in these outbreaks. The State routinely monitors PPE levels in these facilities, and no facility has recently requested a need for additional support,” the DPH said in a statement.

“The DHSS Division of Public Health and Division of Health Care Quality (DHCQ) are actively working with impacted facilities to ensure infection control measures are in place. DPH has provided recommendations to protect residents and staff, including testing guidance, isolation and quarantine recommendations, and patient and staff management strategies.”

Per DHSS regulations, all facilities are required to screen staff members at the start of each shift, and all residents must be screened once per day. The DHSS said it is also making repeat training available “to ensure every long-term care facility staff member in the state is aware and up to date on all COVID-19 protocols and guidance.”

Last week, all long-term care facilities in the state were issued updated guidance to test all staff weekly, and all bi-weekly testing schedules were suspended, the DHSS said. Previously, bi-weekly testing schedules were permitted for facilities that had no new infections for a minimum of 14 days.

Helpful Coronavirus links

Delaware Division of Health Coronavirus Page
CDC: About the Coronavirus Disease 2019
CDC: What to do if You Are Sick
Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center
AP News Coronavirus Coverage
Reopening Delaware: Resources for Businesses
Delaware Phase 2 guidance

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