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March 23, 2021
AHCA Releases Guidance This Afternoon on
the Division of Emergency Management Rescinding the Visitation Order

This afternoon, the Agency for Health Care Administration released guidance to go along with rescinding the Division of Emergency Management's latest Emergency Order DEM 21-001.

Limitations in the DEM Emergency Order 20-011 Related to Visitation are Lifted Effective March 22, 2021

Nursing homes must follow revised federal CMS visitation guidelines and core principles of infection prevention. Assisted living facilities and other long-term care facilities must follow state and federal recommendations and industry best practices for visitation, infection prevention, and the screening and triage of everyone entering a facility for signs and symptoms of COVID-19.

The Emergency Order provided important protections for long-term care residents who are most at-risk for serious complications from COVID-19 infections. Limiting visitation has helped keep residents safe, but restricting access to families and friends has taken a toll on the quality of life of those living in long-term care facilities. Moving forward, all long-term care facilities should strive to help alleviate the burden caused by separation of residents from their loved ones. Under Governor DeSantis’ leadership,

Florida’s vaccination efforts with long-term care facilities have provided tremendous reduction in COVID-19 cases for long-term care staff and residents – 90% declines in the last 60 days alone.

Current COVID-19 long-term care cases represent less than 1% of residents and staff. This month, the federal Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) published updated standards and guidelines recognizing the impact of vaccinations in the fight against COVID-19. By continuing to follow these standards and guidelines, long-term care residents will have more opportunities to safely connect with their families and loved ones.

Click here for the latest CMS Guidance.

Considerations for Preventing Spread of COVID-19
in Assisted Living Facilities

CDC Guidance for Assisted Living communities ws updated as of May 2020 but is still relevant. Click here to review the latest guidance for ALFs.

Of note:

Assisted living facility (ALF) owners and administrators should refer to guidance from state and local officials when making decisions about relaxing restrictions (e.g., easing visitor restrictions, allowing group activities, or restoring communal dining).

When relaxing any restrictions, ALFs must remain vigilant for COVID-19 among residents and personnel in order to prevent spread and protect residents and personnel from severe infections, hospitalizations, and death.

The CDC has updated its infection prevention and control recommendations for fully vaccinated people in healthcare settings. These include recommendations for safe visitation in long-term care communities, as well as updated guidance on work restrictions and quarantine for fully vaccinated healthcare providers and residents in healthcare settings.