GREENVILLE, SC (FOX Carolina) - Beginning Friday, all nursing homes and assisted living facilities in South Carolina are required to offer outdoor and/or indoor visitation, according to DHEC.

Click here to read all of the new visitation guidelines announced Friday.

Facilities across the state are required to allow visitation at all times and for all residents. However, there are circumstances involving a high risk of COVID-19 transmission when facilities should limit indoor visitation for specific residents.

DHEC listed these as the limiting circumstances:

  • Unvaccinated residents: if the facility’s COVID-19 county positivity rate is greater than 10 percent and less than 70 percent of residents in the facility are fully vaccinated
  • Residents with confirmed COVID-19 infection, whether vaccinated or unvaccinated, until they have met the criteria to discontinue Transmission-Based Precautions
  • Residents in quarantine, whether vaccinated or unvaccinated, until they have met criteria for release from quarantine
  • A new case of COVID-19 is identified, a facility must suspend indoor visitation pending the results of a round of facility-wide testing

“Residents of nursing homes and assisted living facilities, as well as their families and friends, benefit emotionally, mentally, and physically from being able to see their loved ones,” said Nick Davidson, Senior Deputy for Public Health, in a news release. “While visitation limitations were necessary for protecting the health of residents during the pandemic, current recommendations are now to allow for visitation with disease prevention protocols in place.”

All care facilities must follow the core principles of COVID-19 prevention during visitations. Those principles are:

  • Screening of all who enter the facility for signs and symptoms of COVID-19 (e.g., temperature checks, questions about and observations of signs or symptoms), and denial of entry of those with signs or symptoms or those who have had close contact with someone with COVID-19 infection in the prior 14 days (regardless of the visitor’s vaccination status)
  • Hand hygiene (use of alcohol-based hand rub is preferred)
  • Face covering or masks (covering mouth and nose)
  • Social distancing of at least six feet between persons
  • Instructional signage throughout the facility and proper visitor education on COVID-19 signs and symptoms, infection control
  • precautions, other applicable facility practices (e.g., use of face covering or mask, specified entries, exits and routes to
  • designated areas, hand hygiene)
  • Cleaning and disinfecting of frequently touched surfaces often and of visitation areas after each visit
  • Appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) use by staff
  • Effective cohorting of residents (e.g., separate areas dedicated COVID-19 care)
  • Resident and staff testing performed in accordance with CMS guidance

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Core Principles of COVID-19 Infection Prevention ❑ Screening of all who enter the facility for signs and symptoms of COVID-19 (e.g., temperature checks, questions about and observations of signs or symptoms), and denial of entry of those with signs or symptoms or those who have had close contact with someone with COVID-19 infection in the prior 14 days (regardless of the visitor’s vaccination status) ❑ Hand hygiene (use of alcohol-based hand rub is preferred) ❑ Face covering or masks (covering mouth and nose) ❑ Social distancing of at least six feet between persons ❑ Instructional signage throughout the facility and proper visitor education on COVID-19 signs and symptoms, infection control precautions, other applicable facility practices (e.g., use of face covering or mask, specified entries, exits and routes to designated areas, hand hygiene) ❑ Cleaning and disinfecting of frequently touched surfaces often and of visitation areas after each visit ❑ Appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) use by staff ❑ Effective cohorting of residents (e.g., separate areas dedicated COVID-19 care) ❑ Resident and staff testing performed in accordance with CMS guidance

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