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Oregon issues new guidelines to long-term care facilities in response to COVID-19

The guidelines are aimed at protecting older adults who are at greater risk of having severe reactions to the coronavirus.

PORTLAND, Ore. — The Oregon Department of Human Services issued new guidance to long-term care facilities in the state to limit the potential exposure of the coronavirus COVID-19 to residents.

The guidelines, made in consultation with the Oregon Health Authority, are aimed at protecting older adults who are at greater risk of having severe reactions to the virus. At least a dozen residents at a care facility in Kirkland, Washington, have died in connection with a coronavirus outbreak there.

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These are the guidelines that were issued to nursing, assisted living and residential care facilities:

  • Restrict visitation to only essential individuals.
  • Limit essential visitors to two per resident at a given time.
  • Screen all permitted visitors for respiratory or other symptoms potentially indicating COVID-19 and for recent travel to an affected geographic area or high-risk setting prior to entering the facilities.
  • Document the screenings for all visitors.
  • Limit community outings.
  • Support residents’ access to socialization when visitors are not able to enter the facility through virtual visits.

“The new visitation restrictions are an additional preventative step we can take to protect older adults and Oregonians with underlying chronic medical conditions, and people who are immunocompromised, who are most at risk,” said DHS Director Fariborz Pakseresht. “We realize the hardship these restrictions may cause for residents and family members and appreciate everyone’s partnership in protecting this vulnerable population.”

The OHA continues to recommend older adults and people with underlying conditions take the following steps to stay safe and healthy:

  • Minimize contact with people who may be ill.
  • Avoid large public gatherings.
  • Order prescriptions by mail.
  • Take daily precautions, including washing your hands frequently, not touching your face and cleaning surfaces.

Fifteen people have tested positive for COVID-19 in Oregon, including eight people between the ages of 55 to 74.

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