Michigan eases visitation restrictions for long-term care, juvenile detention centers

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    After implementing restrictions to slow the spread of COVID-19, Michigan is expanding visitation policies in long-term care facilities, including nursing homes, juvenile detention facilities and hospice centers, but stays vigilant on requiring safety protocols. 

    “It’s been very difficult for residents of these facilities to be unable to see their loved ones during the pandemic,” Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) Director Robert Gordon said. “We are glad Michigan can now allow visits in some circumstances, but we continue to urge caution and require safety precautions like wearing masks during visits.” 

    Gordon signed two epidemic orders Tuesday, effective immediately, that provide exceptions to visitor restrictions in limited circumstances as long as the facilities meet specific safety requirements, such as requiring visitors to wear masks, be assessed for COVID-19 symptoms, maintain social distancing and hold outdoor visitations when possible.

    One order applies to residential long-term care facilities, including nursing homes, adult foster care facilities, hospice facilities, substance abuse disorder residential facilities, independent living facilities and assisted living facilities, and only allows visits with residents who are in serious or critical condition or are in hospice care.

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    The order also allows for visitors who assist residents with activities of daily living, such as eating, bathing or dressing. 

    The second order allows youth residents in child caring institutions, such as foster care facilities, and juvenile detention facilities to have off-campus visits with a parent, foster parent or prospective adoptive parent if they agree to abide by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention safety measures.

    Additionally, the parent, foster parent or prospective adoptive parent must not have a known exposure to COVID-19 or have symptoms.

    Allison Donahue
    Allison R. Donahue covers education, women's issues and LGBTQ issues. Previously, she was a suburbs reporter at the St. Cloud Times in St. Cloud, Minn., covering local education and government. As a graduate of Grand Valley State University, she has previous experience as a freelance researcher for USA Today and an intern with WOOD TV-8. When she is away from her desk, she spends her time going to concerts, comedy shows or getting lost on hikes in different places around the world.