COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCBD) – The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) on Wednesday announced updated guidelines for visiting nursing homes and residential care faciltiies.

Under the new guidelines, facilities that meet these standards are required to allow in-person indoor visitations:

  • a less than or equal to 10 percent positivity rate in the county in which the facility is located, using DHEC’s data, and
  • no COVID-19 cases among staff and/or residents in the past 14 days, and
  • maintained CMS’ core principles of COVID-19 infection prevention

The change comes days after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released updated guidelines for vaccinated individuals.

As of March 10, over 61,500 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered to the roughly 40,000 long-term care facility residents. Over 36,700 doses have been administered to some 40,000 staff members.

Governor Henry McMaster issued a statement following the announcement of the new guidelines, reading in part:

“Prioritizing the physical health and safety of our most vulnerable citizens is critically important, but we must also protect their mental and emotional health. These updated guidelines represent important progress and will result in many facilities opening for visitation, but there’s more work to be done and we will continue pushing federal agencies to allow expanded visitation.”

Editor’s note: This story is breaking and will be updated.