Three months after imposing tight restrictions on nursing home visitors, Gov. Jim Justice announced plans Wednesday to allow family members and nonessential workers to visit patients at those facilities beginning June 17.
During his daily COVID-19 briefing, Justice said it has been a hardship to bar family members from face-to-face visits with parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles.
“This is horrendously difficult and horrendously sad for the families, so we want to get you back together,” he said.
Guidelines and restrictions for such visitations will be released shortly but will include requiring appointments for visits, mandating face masks and social distancing and limiting the number of visitors and lengths of visits.
Health and Human Resources Secretary Bill Crouch said physical contact during visits will be discouraged.
“I know folks are going to be anxious to hug their loved ones,” he said. “Try to resist that as best you can.”
While restrictions on visitations will be eased, nursing home management will determine when to resume visits, Crouch said.
All nursing homes will required to have gone 14 consecutive days with no active COVID-19 cases in order to begin limited visitations.
In addition to family members, workers such as nutritionists and beauticians will be allowed contact with patients.
- Justice said he is concerned there have been at least four church-related COVID-19 outbreaks resulting in about 20 positive cases since the state authorized in-person church services to resume May 10.
He urged churchgoers to protect themselves, including such measures as social distancing and wearing face coverings.
- Justice downplayed his hosting of daily COVID-19 briefings since mid-March playing a possible role in his primary election victory Tuesday, when he received 62% of the vote in a seven-person GOP gubernatorial race.
“If I would have gotten in here and pushed the wrong buttons, this could have been the place where it could have been political suicide,” he said of the briefings, broadcast from the governor’s reception room in the Capitol.
“This politics stuff, to be perfectly honest, has never appealed to me,” he said.