By Robert Garrison, ABC7 Denver, June 25 2020
DENVER — The COVID-19 outbreak has struck nursing homes in Colorado especially hard. More than 40% of all deaths related to the virus in the state have come from non-hospital residential facilities, according to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.
But as the state lifts more restrictions and opens up more of the economy — nursing homes, group homes and assisted living communities will see some limitations lifted as well.
Gov. Jared Polis announced Wednesday that Colorado is taking steps to increase outdoor visitation at these facilities but under strict guidelines.
Some of the guidelines include screening all visitors, including temperature check, before entering a designated outdoor visitation area at the facility. The resident will also need to be screened for symptoms before they are allowed in the outdoor visitation area, and masks will be required for both parties.
Facilities will need to disinfect the furniture used in the area between visits, and can only allow a certain number of visitors into the area based on the area’s square footage or eight people, whichever is smaller.
The CDPHE said these new guidelines should not be viewed as a permanent change to visitation restrictions. The health agency said they continue to monitor infection rates across the state and may further relax or restrict visitation policies as the COVID-19 emergency evolves.