COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Ohio Governor Mike DeWine said nursing homes and assisted living facilities may be allowed more visitations soon if coronavirus positivity rates continue to decrease, but there are guidelines that must be followed.

During his Monday briefing, DeWine stated that COVID-19 positivity rate in Ohio nursing homes have been declining in recent weeks.  

“Last week, long-term care facilities reported 343 new cases – this is compared to the 2,832 new cases when case numbers peaked in December. We are definitely making progress,” said DeWine.  

Under the Centers for Medicare and Medicade Services (CMS)  federal regulations that went into effect in the fall nursing homes can only allow visitations if:

  • No new cases in the last 14 days
  • No outbreak testing ongoing
  • Community positivity rate at less than 10%.

These laws override state requirements.

DeWine urged facilities to check county positivity rate every week to determine their visitation status and to allow for compassionate care visits. He also said he would be sending a letter reminding them of these duties.

Ohio’s facilities are required to report in weekly and update the state’s visitation dashboard to indicate if visitation is allowed at their facility, explained DeWine.

DeWine also stressed that compassionate care visits at nursing homes are always allowed.

“Compassionate care is not just for end-of-life situations,” explained DeWine. “Rather, compassionate care visitations are special visits in which a family member, or other visitor, provides comfort, support and assistance to a reside whose wellbeing is suffering or at risk.” 

DeWine said those visits should be used to get the resident feeling well again. 

Families can access the visitation dashboard here: