New state rules were issued Tuesday to ensure that nursing homes and assisted living facilities better protect older adults – a population more likely to be hit by Covid-19 (coronavirus).
The rule changes, announced by Gov. Jay Inslee, center around visitors, screening and precautionary measures.
“The risk of severe illness and death from Covid-19 appears to be higher in people 60 years or older and in those with chronic health conditions,” Inslee said. “And we know there is an increased risk among people while live in congregated settings, such as long-term care facilities. We need to protect our older adults, and these rules will help.”
Rules that go into effect Tuesday:
- Visitors must be adults and the visit must take place in the resident’s room. This does not apply to end-of-life situations.
- All visitors must follow Covid-19 screening and follow reasonable precautionary measures. Precautionary measures include, but are not limited to, wearing personal protective equipment, social distancing, or visiting in designated locations.
- All visitors must sign into a visitor’s log. Owners and operators must retain that log for 30 days.
- Employees or volunteers must be screened for Covid-19 symptoms at the start of each shift.
- People who live in nursing homes or assisted living facilities and who test positive for Covid-19 must be isolated away from other people.
- Owners, operators, staff and volunteers are prohibited from disclosing protected and confidential health information, except as otherwise provided by law or with the resident’s consent.
These rules remain in effect until midnight on April 9, 2020.