Ohio Department of Health releases adult daycare and senior center reopening guidelines

Blog Post

Since we last reported on the reopening of Ohio senior centers and adult daycare facilities, Interim Director of the Ohio Department of Health, Lance D. Himes, released the official guidelines and restrictions all facilities must follow. All facilities must take the following measures to ensure compliance with the director’s order:

  1. Additional precautions for vulnerable people – Individuals at high risk of severe illness from COVID-19 are encouraged to remain in their residence whenever possible, except when necessary to seek medical care. Several underlying medical conditions increases an individual’s risk for contracting COVID-19, including, but not limited to, people with chronic lung disease, serious heart conditions, compromised immune systems, diabetes, kidney disease and liver disease.
  2. Masks – Facilities must allow all individuals, such as visitors and patrons, to use facial coverings. In addition, facilities must require that all employees wear facial coverings, except when facial coverings are: a) prohibited by law; b) in violation of documented industry standards; c) not advisable for health reasons; d) in violation of the business’s documented safety policies; e) not required because the employee works alone; or f) not required due to a functional or practical reason. Upon request, facilities will be required to provide written justification explaining why an employee is not required to wear a mask.
  3. Social distancing – When possible, facilities must implement the following social distancing requirements: a) designate six-foot spacing for all employees and customers; b) provide hand sanitizer and sanitizing products for employees and customers; and c) post online whether the facility is open and how to reach the facility by phone or remotely.
  4. Reopening guidelines – As of September 1, 2020, facilities were allowed to reopen at limited capacity, which is defined within the discretion of the facility. Upon reopening facilities should consider the number of cases in the surrounding community, the number of cases in the facility, facility staffing capabilities, access to testing, the ability for residents to wear masks, access to personal protective equipment supplies, and local hospital capacity. Facilities are encouraged to implement cohorting of residents. Cohorting is the practice of gathering participants as a group that will eat, travel and participate in activities together.
  5. Communication of COVID-19 plan – Each facility is required to develop a written plan which outlines all reopening requirements and plans and prepare a communication plan for residents, participants and families.
  6. Entering the facility – All residents, participants and staff should be pre-screened for COVID-19 via telephone before each visit. In addition, facilities should designate an entry point which allows for the safe pick up and drop off of facility participants and visitors. Further, each facility will be required to maintain a daily log that tracks the attendance of each resident, participant and visitor which includes their telephone number and address. Each log will be maintained for six months and will be available to all residents, participants, visitors and the Ohio Department of Health.
  7. Facility activities – Whenever the facility plans activities, it should sign-up participants in advance and avoid field trips and large-group events. In addition, all activities that cannot maintain six-foot distancing must be cancelled immediately. In order to encourage safe activities, facilities are urged to organize outdoor activities whenever possible and provide for virtual options. Facilities are further expected to follow all COVID-19 protocol established by the state for restaurants, bars, and banquet and catering facilities.
  8. Staff – All facility staff are required to receive training on COVID-19 procedures and topics, including infection control, use of personal protective equipment, social distancing, and new facility procedures.
  9. Facility participants – Any participant unable to wear a mask and participants considered to be a risk to others shall not be accepted or allowed to return to the facility.
  10. Transportation – When transporting facility participants and residents, all drivers and individuals participating in pick up or drop off shall be required to wear facial coverings.
  11. Confirmed COVID-19 case – Should the facility experience any confirmed case of COVID-19, the facility should immediately isolate the individual and seek medical care. In addition, the facility should be shutdown to facilitate for deep sanitation and provide testing whenever possible.

A violation of the director’s order could result in a second degree misdemeanor which may include a fine of not more than $750, not more than 90 days in jail, or both. The director’s order shall remain in full force until rescinded or modified by the Director of the Ohio Department of Health.

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