Missouri long-term care facilities were not allowed to fully reopen Wednesday with the rest of the state, as health officials called for a phased-in approach regarding visitation. The clarification came after some reports suggested providers could reopen under their own policies.

The state’s Department of Health and Human Services instead announced that it will release guidance for providers that will push for facilities to reopen gradually and in phases. The guidance will be in line with federal regulations.

The state, however, is leaving the decision to allow outdoor and window visits up to providers, as some other states have started to allow.

“The state asks that several items be considered when determining reopening plans, but each facility will ultimately decide on their own protocol related to visits. Facilities should be notifying residents’ families of their procedures for visitations once they are in place,” the agency wrote. 

• In yet another heartwarming tale produced due to pandemic conditions, a simple pen pal program launched at a New Hampshire nursing home in April has resulted in residents connecting with hundreds of people across the United States. The program is beloved by residents, according to activities director Barbara Rabtoy.

“They can’t have visitors, they can’t have family come in, so this is a way of reaching out,” she said.