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TOPEKA – Today, Governor Laura Kelly and Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services (KDADS) Secretary Laura Howard announced revised recommendations for nursing facilities to expand visitation in response to significant reductions in COVID-19 infections and transmission resulting from ongoing infection control practices, and high vaccination rates in the nursing home population.

“This updated guidance is great news for Kansans with loved ones in long-term care facilities and proof that our efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19 are working,” said Governor Laura Kelly. “While this is another step towards our return to normalcy, I encourage all Kansans to follow the guidance, continue to mask up, and receive the vaccine when it is their turn.”

According to Memorandum QSO-20-39-NH-Revised issued March 10, 2021 by the Federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and effective immediately, “… vaccines have received Emergency Use Authorization from the Food and Drug Administration. Millions of vaccinations have since been administered to nursing home residents and staff, and these vaccines have been shown to help prevent symptomatic SARS-CoV-2 infection (i.e., COVID-19). Therefore, CMS, in conjunction with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), is updating its visitation guidance accordingly, but emphasizing the importance of maintaining infection prevention practices, given the continued risk of COVID-19 transmission.”

CMS directs that visitation can be conducted through different means based on a facility’s structure and residents’ needs, such as in resident rooms, dedicated visitation spaces, outdoors, and for circumstances beyond compassionate care situations. Regardless of how visits are conducted, QSO-20-39-NH-Revised outlines certain core principles and best practices consistent with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance for nursing homes that reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission and should still be adhered to at all times.

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