TUESDAY, May 19, 2020 (HealthDay News) — State governors should use “extreme caution” in deciding when to allow visits to nursing homes to resume, the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services said Monday.
It does not offer firm dates for doing so but outlines a number of factors that local and state health officials should weigh, including adequate staffing levels and the ability to regularly test all residents and employees, the Associated Press reported. The agency advises that opening nursing homes to visitors should not occur before all residents and staff have tested negative for the new coronavirus for at least 28 days.
It has been more than two months since CMS ordered nursing homes to ban visitors. There have been more than 33,000 deaths due to coronavirus outbreaks in U.S. nursing homes, which is more than one-third of all coronavirus deaths nationwide, according to the AP.
“We’re urging governors to proceed with extreme caution because these are the most vulnerable citizens,” CMS Administrator Seema Verma told the AP. “We know that nursing homes have struggled.”