State moves to allow indoor visits at nursing homes

Michigan health officials issued an emergency order Wednesday that will permit nursing homes and other long-term care facilities to allow indoor visits.

Visitations have been largely forbidden during the COVID-19 pandemic due to the potential to infect people who are already at high risk for the illness. In September, Governor Gretchen Whitmer allowed outdoor visits under strict guidelines.

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The new indoor visitation rules come with some caveats. Indoor visits will only be allowed in regions not at the highest risk of COVID-19 transmission according the MI Safe Start Map. That rules out the entire Upper Peninsula.

The facility being visited must not have had an outbreak for at least 14 days. And most visitors will have to have had a negative coronavirus test within the past 72 hours.

COVID infection rates have been rising in Michigan over the past few weeks leading the governor to call for higher precautions to limit the spread of the disease. Health officials said they were still comfortable with increasing visitations because of increases in testing capacity.

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