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VERO BEACH, Florida, March 22, 2021: Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services provide guidelines to senior living communities that will allow for safe visitation amid COVID-19 pandemic at HarborChase assisted & independent living and memory care communities effective immediately.

According to CMS, all communities must allow for indoor visitation at all times and for all residents regardless of vaccination status. If the resident is fully vaccinated, meaning it has been 14 days since their final vaccine shot, they can choose to have close contact (including touch) with their visitor while wearing a well-fitting face mask and performing hand hygiene before and after.

Visitation can be conducted indoors including designated areas, residents’ apartments, special circumstances beyond compassionate care situations as well as outdoors. Each HarborChase community may design their own visitation plan based on the structure of the community and needs of their residents.

In compliance with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a set of core principles and best practices that will continue to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission are in place and must be followed. The principles include screening for signs & symptoms of all visitors, use of face masks, social distancing, hand hygiene, cleaning and disinfecting surfaces, instructional signage, appropriate associate use of PPE, sequestering positive residents and required resident & associate testing.

Compassionate care visits should be permitted at all times. However, special circumstances may prevent indoor visitation including:

  • Unvaccinated residents; if the community’s COVID-19 county positivity rate is >10% and less than 70% of residents in the community are fully vaccinated
  • Residents with confirmed COVID-19 infection, whether vaccinated or unvaccinated until they have met the criteria to discontinue Transmission-Based Precautions; or
  • Residents in quarantine, whether vaccinated or unvaccinated until they have met the criteria for release from quarantine.

When a new case of COVID-19 among residents or associates is identified, HarborChase will immediately begin outbreak testing and suspend all visitation (except that required under federal disability rights law,) until at least one round of community-wide testing is completed. Visitation may resume if the first round of outbreak testing reveals no additional COVID-19 cases in other areas (e.g., units) of the community or until the community meets the criteria to discontinue outbreak testing.

For more information, please contact Sheila Wilson, Vice President of Health and Wellness for Harbor Retirement Associates at swilson@hraonline.net.

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