People will finally be able to visit their elderly family in long-term care facilities again, the North Carolina Department of Health announced Thursday.
After a year of tragedy and isolation, North Carolina’s seniors will finally have the opportunity to be with their loved ones. On Thursday, the NCDHHS announced COVID-19 cases in nursing home residents are declining “rapidly,” paving the way for families to reunite.
“Given the rapid decline in new cases, most facilities currently meet criteria to resume indoor visitation while continuing to follow infection prevention recommendations,” the department said in an official release. Health officials credited over 205,000 high-priority vaccines for vulnerable people and medical workers for the recovery.
“Protecting our residents and staff in long-term care has been a top priority in our pandemic response efforts and seeing cases decrease in these settings is heartening,” said NCDHHS Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen, continuing:
I know it has a been a long, difficult year for residents and families, but those measures saved lives and are now allowing us to resume safe, indoor visitation. While we need to continue infection prevention practices, this decrease is also a positive sign of the impact vaccinations have in our communities.
While visitors will be able to reconnect with their loved ones soon, the facilities themselves will be responsible for a more specific time. Nursing homes will still need to comply with federal and state guidelines before they are officially permitted to resume normal operations. Additionally, Medicare-certified, skilled nursing facilities will need to meet standards set by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.