COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCBD) – South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster is calling on state health officials to issue guidance on allowing visitation at nursing homes and assisted living facilities.
On March 13th, at the height of the coronavirus pandemic’s impact on the state, Gov. McMaster directed the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control to restrict visitation to nursing homes and assisted living facilities, with the exception of end of life situations
Gov. McMaster this week sent a letter to DHEC Chairman Mark Elam calling for the agency to “promptly issue up-to-date visitation guidelines providing all direction and information deemed necessary to resume – or require resumption if necessary – in-person visitation with residents in nursing homes and assisted living facilities.”
He said restricting visitation to nursing homes and assisted living facilities back in March was a heartbreaking necessity and called it the most effective way to contain the spread of COVID-19 in an effort to save the lives of elderly and at-risk residents.
Gov. McMaster later called on DHEC to develop guidelines to allow for or facilitate limited visitation in these facilities on June 26th, and then followed days later asking for the agency to delay the release of those guidelines as COVID-19 cases began to surge in South Carolina.
“We are committed to protecting the physical, mental and emotional health of our elderly and at-risk people – and their loved ones,” Gov. McMaster said. “Although no policy or procedure can eliminate all possibility of risk, it is clear that the time has come to expand current rules to allow in-person visitation by immediate family members, loved ones or caregivers.”