On Sunday, as part of phase 1 of the administration’s new guidelines for Opening Up America Again, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services recommended reopening healthcare facilities to provide non-COVID healthcare in areas of the country with low and stable incidence of COVID-19. 

But visits to nursing homes wouldn’t be allowed until the final phase of the Trump administration’s three-phase plan to reopen America amid the coronavirus pandemic. 

President Donald Trump

The administration unveiled the economic relief plan late last week, with President Trump saying a “national shutdown is not a sustainable long-term solution.”

Under phase one and phase two, the plan recommends that all vulnerable individuals continue to shelter in place. It also prohibits visits to senior living facilities and hospitals. People who interact with nursing home residents must adhere to strict hygiene protocols. Social distancing guidelines would also still be in place. 

Not until phase three can vulnerable individuals resume public interactions, along with visits to nursing homes. 

In March, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services announced a ban on visitors and non-essential healthcare personnel from nursing homes to combat and limit the spread of COVID-19. The guidance also called for providers to cancel communal dining and all group activities. 

Workers returning to facilities

Healthcare workers suspected of having coronavirus can return to work once their symptoms improve and they’ve tested as COVID-19 negative twice under updated guidance issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The guidance calls on providers to use the test-based strategy before allowing staff members to return work in healthcare settings.

If the test-based strategy can’t be used, the guidance requires that workers still be excluded from work until at least three days  have passed since their recovery and at east seven days have passed since symptoms first appeared. 

For those who haven’t developed symptoms, they can return to work10 days after their positive COVID-19 diagnostic test, assuming they haven’t subsequently developed symptoms since their positive test.  

Once they return to work, all healthcare workers are required to wear a facemask and would be restricted from contact with severely immunocompromised patients. They must also self-monitor for symptoms and seek if any respiratory symptoms recur or worsen.