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Central District Health unanimously approves changes to long-term care facilities guidelines

The CDH Board of Health tackled several major topics in Tuesday's meeting.

BOISE, Idaho — The Central District Health Board of Health met at 5:15 p.m. Tuesday to address a wide-range of coronavirus-related public health topics, including changes to the district's guidelines for long-term care facilities like senior living 

The board also reviewed and discussed recommended guidelines for in-person learning and extracurricular activities, possible public health orders and reviewing order criteria for Ada County.

The Board of Health unanimously voted to pass a public health motion so that some form of visitation would be allowed at long-term care facilities.

Under current CDH guidelines, visitors are not allowed inside nursing homes and long-term care facilities because of the pandemic.

The recommendation changes include testing and screening visitors, face masks, social distancing. The changes include no new positive tests from staff for 14 days before allowing visitors in, limiting the number of people and the time people can visit.

The motion to make the changes passed.

CDH Spokesperson Brandon Atkins said research from the Center for Medicare and Medicaid shows that no visitation rules have negative impacts on senior residents.

“They are already being separated from family in a living environment and they have peers but obviously it’s not quite the same as what most of their lives have been,” Atkins said. “So, I think that a lot of those end of life situations where people become depressed and don’t feel like they have any connectivity, it can be detrimental to their health.”

Atkins said the board is anticipating changing the current guidelines so that they can ensure this vulnerable population is protected but not isolate them and cut them off at the same time.

Some of the proposed changes include visitors wearing PPE, sanitizing before and after visits and limiting how many visitors are allowed inside at a time.

“One of the things I’m sure that would be at the forefront is not all family members would be allowed inside,” said Atkins. “So, although you may want to go and visit your grandparent, maybe only your mother, who is their daughter, can go from your family. So, a single individual that can go and visit their loved one who is in the facility.”

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