DES MOINES, Iowa — With more Iowans getting vaccinated against COVID-19, health officials are allowing most indoor visits in nursing homes to resume.
The Iowa Department of Public Health is following the updated guidance issued by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services in collaboration with the CDC.
“According to the updated guidance, facilities should allow responsible indoor visitation at all times and for all residents, regardless of vaccination status of the resident, or visitor,” the Iowa Department of Public Health said.
However, there are some scenarios that would restrict visitation:
- Unvaccinated residents, if the 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; or
- Residents in quarantine, whether vaccinated or unvaccinated, until they have met criteria for release from quarantine.
The guidance allows for “compassionate care” visits at all times, regardless of a resident’s vaccination status, the county’s COVID-19 positivity rate or a virus outbreak. Compassionate care visits are for a resident whose health is sharply declining or is experiencing a significant change.
“[The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services] continues to recommend facilities, residents, and families adhere to the core principles of COVID-19 infection control, including maintaining physical distancing and conducting visits outdoors whenever possible. This continues to be the safest way to prevent the spread of COVID-19, particularly if either party has not been fully vaccinated,” the Iowa Department of Public Health said.
Through the Long Term Care Pharmacy Partnership Program, 75,125 first doses and 64,017 second doses have been administered. Resident doses account for 78,204 of the total and 60,963 are staff, according to the Iowa Department of Public Health.
On Friday, Iowa announced a milestone 1 million doses of the coronavirus vaccine have been administered statewide.