Pursuant to Governor Stitt’s Executive Order 2020-06 and President Trump’s declaration of a National Public Health Emergency, the Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) is authorizing the following facilities to restrict visitors as they deem necessary to protect those they serve:
- Nursing facilities
- Assisted living centers
- Residential care facilities
- Adult day care centers
- Intermediate care facilities for individuals with intellectual or developmental disabilities
- Other medical facilities or congregate living settings which house or serve vulnerable populations
- City and county detention facilities
This broad discretion is provided out of an abundance of caution for the vulnerable population and a recognition of the quickly evolving situation with regard to the spread of COVID-19. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) have issued guidance on approaches facilities may take in screening, limiting and restricting visitors. This advisement is effective until further notice or for the duration of the President’s emergency declaration.
These facilities face enormous consequences should the virus be introduced in their communities and will face great challenges in actively screening visitors, while also screening their own staff. They must, as a priority, screen their own staff and conserve personal protective equipment for their staff, residents, and clients.
Facilities should make efforts, as staff and resources permit, to provide alternative communication methods for their residents, patients, and clients. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services “Guidance for Infection Control and Prevention of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) in Nursing Homes (Revised March 13, 2019)” provides guidance for any facility managing visitation questions around end-of-life or compassionate care situations.