April 1, 2021
MDH updates outing guidance for long-term care facilities ahead of holiday weekend
The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) has updated its guidance for one-day outings including for holidays, such as Easter, Passover, and other celebrations.
MDH has made the change to reflect what the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) now allows according to its guidance, updated March 29, for nursing homes and long-term care facilities on infection prevention and control recommendations. (See Interim Infection Prevention and Control Recommendations to Prevent SARS-CoV-2 Spread in Nursing Homes.)
The key difference is that long-term care residents in both nursing homes and assisted living now have more options for visiting with loved ones. In most circumstances residents, regardless of their vaccination status, can leave the facility for less than 24 hours without having to quarantine when they come back, as long as they were not in close contact with someone who has COVID-19.
The change is effective immediately and means that residents, in most circumstances, can go home for Easter or Passover celebrations without needing to worry about quarantining, if they go back to their facility later that day.
“This guidance change presents a nice opportunity for faith-based and family outings for this and other upcoming weekends,” said Minnesota Commissioner of Health Jan Malcolm. “However, it is still very important for residents and their companions to follow recommendations such as well-fitting masks, physical distancing and hand washing.”
To help lower risk, MDH recommends wearing a mask that fits well, social distancing, washing hands often and sticking to outdoor visits when possible. Call the facility before visiting.
Highlights of the MDH guidance change for assisted living-type facilities and nursing homes include:
- People transporting residents should also be educated about and follow mask wearing, social distancing and hand washing recommendations.
- Residents who have close contact (within 6 feet for 15 minutes or more) with someone with COVID-19 should quarantine upon their return, whether the resident is vaccinated or not.
- Residents gone more than 24 hours are looked at as a new admission or readmission to the facility and may have to quarantine, based on CDC guidance.
The updated MDH guidance can be found at the Long-term Care Guidance for Outings webpage.
In other guidance news, MDH also made updates March 30 to guidance for assisted living-type facilities that allows residents who are fully vaccinated to dine and participate in activities closer than 6 feet while still wearing masks as appropriate. (See COVID-19 Guidance for Dining and Activities in Assisted Living Settings (PDF) (link expired).