COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCBD) – All nursing homes and assisted living facilities in the state are now required to offer both outdoor and indoor visitation based on guidance from South Carolina’s lead health agency.
The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control released the guidelines for visitation on March 10th, which follow federal guidelines.
Beginning on Friday, March 19th, facilities are required to allow visitors at all times and for all residents.
DHEC, though, said there are circumstances involving a high risk of COVID-19 transmission when facilities should limit indoor visitation for specific residents:
- Unvaccinated residents: if the facility’s COVID-19 county positivity rate is greater than 10 percent and less than 70 percent of residents in the facility are fully vaccinated
- Residents with confirmed COVID-19 infection, whether vaccinated or unvaccinated, until they have met the criteria to discontinue Transmission-Based Precautions
- Residents in quarantine, whether vaccinated or unvaccinated, until they have met criteria for release from quarantine
- A new case of COVID-19 is identified, a facility must suspend indoor visitation pending the results of a round of facility-wide testing
Prior to these updated guidelines, 177 facilities reported they were not allowing visitation based on previous visitation guidelines.
As of Friday, all of the state’s nursing homes have had their first and second COVID-19 vaccination clinics completed, and 95% (185 of 193) of their final third clinics completed. A total of 98% (485 of 495) of the state’s assisted living facilities have had their first vaccination clinic completed and 93% (462 of 495) have had their second clinic completed, with final third clinics occurring or scheduled as well.
DHEC says the public should assume facilities have outdoor and indoor visitation; however, they strongly recommend contacting the nursing home or assisted facility to confirm its visitation status prior to planning a visit.