Tennessee officials announce relaxed guidelines for longterm facilities, new guidelines go into effect in 2 weeks


Nursing Homes Continue To Fight Against the Coronavirus

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WJHL) – Tennessee officials revealed plans to relax some long-term care facility guidelines on Thursday, and updated guidelines are slated to go into effect in two weeks.

According to guidelines released by the Tennessee Department of Health, facilities may only adopt the updated guidelines if they’ve gone at least 14 days without a new positive COVID-19 case among residents or staff.

Officials said facilities may adopt operations that are more strict than the new guidelines, but facilities may not operate under more relaxed guidelines.

TDH released new guidelines for visitation and limited activities within long term care facilities.

Visitation guidelines

Facilities that haven’t reported any new COVID-19 cases in the past 14-days may open visitation to include outdoor visitation and limited indoor visitation.

Outdoor visits must be scheduled in advance, last no more than 45 minutes and allow no less than six feet of space between visitors and residents. Residents and their visitors must always wear a face covering during the visits, and visitors must complete a temperature/symptom screening beforehand.

The guidelines also allow limited indoor visitation in common spaces that allow for appropriate social distancing and cleaning between visitations.

Guidelines for indoor visitation mirror those for outdoor visitation, and all visitations are limited to no more than two visitors over the age of 18.

After a facility reports no new COVID-19 cases for 28 days, essential caregivers will be allowed to visit residents indoors.

Officials defined essential caregivers as family members or guardians who engaged with the resident on a regular basis before lockdown protocols began.

At this point, residents may have up to five people designated as an essential caregiver, but no more than two of them may visit at a time. Those deemed essential caregivers will be subject to the same regular testing requirements as the facility’s staff.

Community COVID-19 ActivityCounty Positivity Rate Over the Past WeekMinimum Testing Frequency
LowLess than 5%Once per month
Medium5-10%Once per week
HighGreater than 10%Twice per week
The guidelines note that this frequency presumes the availability of Point of Care testing on-site at the nursing home or where off-site testing turnaround time is less than 48 hours.

Read the full updated visitation guidelines here:

Activity guidelines

Officials also announced changes to facility activities on Thursdsay, including limited allowances for barbers and beauticians to resume some operations within longterm care facilities.

The guidelines allow use of the salon area at 50% capacity and ample spacing of six feet between residents receiving services.

Face coverings must be worn by residents, barbers and beauticians, and the guidelines require routine sanitation of high-touch work areas in the salon.

The guidelines also allow volunteers to work in longterm care facilities under the same infection control requirements as employed staff including universal masking, screening before each shift and routine testing.

The updated guidelines also allow residents to return to the dining room at half capacity with at least six feet between tables and no more than two people seated per table.

Small group activities may also resume on the condition that they allow for six feet of social distancing between residents.

Read more about the updated activity guidelines here:

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