Facilities authorized to restrict visitation

Ponca City Now - March 16, 2020 3:10 pm

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
  • Hospitals
  • 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.

We recognize the disruption this guidance presents to families and loved ones but ask the citizens of Oklahoma to appreciate that these steps are taken to protect those who are depending on others to protect them. For those facilities that are offering visitation, we ask that citizens be respectful of the burden visits present and that you limit those visits as much as possible. This advisement is not related to any evidence of the virus being present in any facility and no family member should have concern if they recently visited their loved one in a facility.


Centers for Disease Control:

Preparing for COVID-19: Long-term Care Facilities, Nursing Homes. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/healthcare-facilities/prevent-spread-in-long-term-care-facilities.html

Steps Healthcare Facilities Can Take Now to Prepare for Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/healthcare-facilities/steps-to-prepare.html

Interim Guidance for Healthcare Facilities: Preparing for Community Transmission of COVID-19 in the United States. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/healthcare-facilities/guidance-hcf.html

Resources for Homeless Shelters. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/homeless-shelters/index.html

Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services:

Guidance for Infection Control and Prevention of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) in nursing homes (REVISED). https://www.cms.gov/files/document/qso-20-14-nh-revised.pdf

Policy & Memos to States and Regions. https://www.cms.gov/Medicare/Provider-Enrollment-and-Certification/SurveyCertificationGenInfo/Policy-and-Memos-to-States-and-Regions


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