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DHSS Press Release

Molly Magarik, Secretary
Jill Fredel, Director of Communications
302-255-9047, Cell 302-357-7498

Date: March 26, 2021


NEW CASTLE (March 26, 2021) - The Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS) has updated its guidance to Delaware's long-term care facilities following recent federal recommendations that allow for expanded indoor visitation during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The guidance was updated last week and was sent to the state's 86 long-term care (LTC) facilities; it can be found here. The updated guidelines follow the release earlier this month of revised visitation recommendations by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services in response to reductions in COVID-19 infections and transmission and increased vaccination rates in the nursing home population.

"As COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations decrease in Delaware and our vaccinations increase, we know that families and close friends of residents of nursing homes and assisted-living facilities are eager to have in-person indoor visitation with their loved ones once again," DHSS Secretary Molly Magarik said. "We are pleased that our Division of Health Care Quality and Division of Public Health have come up with a reopening and visitation plan that supports long-term care facilities in making that happen."

Highlights of the guidance include:

Indoor visitation

Required visitation

Outdoor visitation

Compassionate Care Visits

Visitor Testing and Vaccinations

The updated plan also includes sections on communal dining and activities and on indoor visitations during a COVID-19 outbreak. The state defines an outbreak as a single new COVID-19 infection in a facility staff or any LTC facility onset COVID-19 infection in a resident. A resident admitted to the facility with COVID-19 does not constitute a facility outbreak.

If members of the public find the visitation is not occurring as per the guidance, complaints can be filed with the Division of Health Care Quality:

Delaware Health and Social Services is committed to improving the quality of the lives of Delaware's citizens by promoting health and well-being, fostering self-sufficiency, and protecting vulnerable populations.