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Care facility rules eased


July 17, 2020

For the first time since mid-March, outsiders will be allowed into Minnesota’s long-term care homes to visit residents.

The Minnesota Department of Health put out new guidance Friday that allows residents to designate an “essential caregiver” to visit them inside their residence and to have physical contact with them.

The guidance indicates those caregivers would likely be a family member, friend, volunteer or “other, close outside caregivers” who had provided regular support to the resident before — or during — the pandemic.

The designated caregivers — state officials said residents could have more than one — would be screened for COVID-19 symptoms, would need to follow social distancing guidelines in the home with staff and other residents and would be required to wear personal protective equipment, such as face masks, when inside the facility.

“The Minnesota Department of Health recognizes the importance of social distancing and physical separation to help keep residents safe,” the new guidance says.

“MDH also acknowledges the unintended consequences of prolonged physical separation and isolation on a resident’s overall health and well-being. Although technology can help decrease loneliness for some residents, technology is not a sustainable replacement for in-person contact.”

— Minnesota Public Radio


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