Shawnee County Health Officer to allow visitation in nursing homes

Coronavirus

Dennis McMahan hugs his wife as he is released from Allendale Nursing and Rehabilitation after fighting COVID-19 for 137 days. (Sept. 9, 2020)

TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – Nursing homes, the epicenter of many COVID-19 clusters in Kansas, are getting new instructions from the Shawnee County Health Officer.

The Shawnee County Health Department said Thursday, facilities with no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the past 28 days can resume visitations, while still taking appropriate precautions to mitigate the transmission of COVID-19.

Other facilities should adjust their restrictions based on the criteria the SCHD has laid out.

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, Nursing Home Reopening Recommendations for State And Local Government.

All facilities are asked to reintroduce restrictions if their case count changes, as described
in the CMS plan.

“We appreciate the hard work of the individuals working in these facilities keeping our most
vulnerable population safe,” Dr. Pezzino said. “The parameters outlined in this CMS guidance plan
will allow facilities to appropriately handle the implementation or reduction of restrictions based on
the current conditions in their respective facilities while still ensuring a safe environment for our
nursing home population in Shawnee County.”

It is still recommended that high risk individuals stay home.

Human coronaviruses like the one that causes COVID-19 are most commonly spread through
coughing and sneezing, personal contact like shaking hands, and touching a surface with the virus
and then touching your eyes, nose or mouth. There are simple steps everyone can take to help
prevent spreading them:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick and only leave home for essential items.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

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