Gov. Jared Polis announced Wednesday that Colorado will begin allowing in-person visitation at nursing homes and long-term care facilities as soon as next week.
That’s welcome news for families and friends who have been cut off from seeing their loved ones for months because of the pandemic. Coronavirus has been linked to the deaths of more than 700 senior care center residents in Colorado as outbreaks of the disease cropped up at facilities across the state.
“It’s obviously a balance between ensuring that our older adults are protected, and allowing older adults to be with their loved ones,” Polis said. “This doesn’t mean that all of the sudden visits start like they did a year ago or six months ago. We’ve seen the death toll from outbreaks in senior living facilities and nursing homes and we don’t want that to occur again.”
The state released draft guidance on Wednesday for how the visitations may be carried out.
Under the guidance, indoor visitation would be allowed at facilities in counties that have less than or equal to an average of 25 new, active cases per 100,000 people in the prior 14 days.
In counties with 25 to 175 new, active cases per 100,000 people over the prior 14 days, visitors will be required to get tested for COVID-19 and have the results returned in the 24 hours before their visit.
Indoor visitation will not be allowed at facilities with active coronavirus outbreaks.
Polis said the state will solicit comments on the draft guidance (have your voice heard here) through Friday. “We believe that these indoor visitation protocols are reasonably safe,” he said.
Colorado is already allowing outdoor visitation of senior care center residents with strict guidelines.
Polis on Wednesday also announced the formation of a task force to study the effects of the pandemic on housing in Colorado. The Democrat has faced criticism for not doing more to stop evictions.