Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and Lt. Governor Jon Husted last week provided the following updates on testing, fairs, and assisted living visitation.
Governor DeWine announced Thursday that the State of Ohio Board of Pharmacy has clarified rules that allow pharmacists to order and administer tests for COVID-19.
“As frontline health care providers, pharmacies are critical in our state’s response to this pandemic,” said DeWine. “I have asked the Ohio Board of Pharmacy to make sure that Ohio pharmacies have what they need to test for COVID-19.”
To help Ohioans find testing locations, a map has been added to coronavirus.ohio.gov that lists COVID-19 testing centers in Ohio. The map includes links to community health centers and pharmacy sites to assist citizens with information about how to get a test referral or schedule an appointment.
DeWine also announced a plan to lift restrictions on visitation at assisted living homes in Ohio.
Beginning on June 8, properly prepared assisted living facilities and intermediate care facilities for individuals with developmental disabilities can begin to allow outdoor visitation.
The lifted restrictions do not yet apply to nursing homes.
“We will continue to examine, monitor, and adjust as we carefully and thoughtfully lift restrictions on visitation,” said DeWine. “The well-being of our residents has been, and remains, central to our decision-making.”
The decision to move forward with outdoor visitation for assisting living facilities and intermediate care facilities was made while considering requests from families and residents and considering the impact on the quality of life a prolonged loss of connection can have on an individual. Advocates and providers in the aging and development disabilities communities were also consulted, and guidelines for visitation were jointly developed by the Academy for Senior Health Sciences, Leading Age Ohio, the Ohio Assisted Living Association, the Ohio Health Care Association, and the Ohio Medical Director’s Association.
Because each facility is different, each facility can determine how to best implement outdoor visitations, however, at a minimum, all facilities must develop a policy that includes:
• Screening for temperatures and symptom-reporting for visitors
• Scheduled hours and time limits for visits
• Proper social distancing measures
• Face coverings
• Resident, family, and friend education about the risks of the spread of COVID-19
Consideration for visitors during end-of-life situations will also be expanded. Providers should notify family members when a resident’s substantial change of condition indicates end-of-life is approaching. Providers should not wait until a resident is actively dying to allow visitors.
DeWine’s Fair Advisory Group has released guidelines for how county fair boards and agricultural societies can work with county health departments to safely operate junior fairs for kids.
The guidelines focus on maintaining social distancing, limiting crowds, ensuring the health of everyone involved in the junior fair activities, and animal care and welfare.
“The decisions about county and independent fairs need to be made locally because each county and independent fair is unique and has different challenges,” said DeWine. “Conditions may change over the course of the summer, however, we are asking all fair boards to comply with all of the orders of the Ohio Department of Health and the guidelines for other sectors that would also apply to fairs, such as for food service and rides.”
The Ohio Department of Agriculture is in the process of distributing all state funding available for Ohio’s 94 county and independent fairs.