On July 28, Governor Doug Ducey announced the establishment of the Task Force On Long-Term Care. The task force was assigned to develop recommendations and metrics on how and when visitation within long-term care facilities can be safely resumed and what steps facilities can take before then to help residents and their loved ones maintain contact.
The members of the Task Force On Long-Term Care released their recommendations on August 25. The Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) adopted the recommendations and posted the COVID-19 Guidance for Visitation at Congregate Settings for Vulnerable Adults and Children on August 28.
Resuming visitation depends on a facility’s implementation of COVID-19 mitigation strategies and the level of community spread occurring in the community. Community spread is based on minimal, moderate and substantial benchmarks:
The guidance requires long-term care facilities to implement mitigation policies to protect residents, visitors and staff by this Friday, September 4. Long-term care facilities that implement health and safety precautions can allow visitation as soon as this weekend.
Guidance for Visitation
Additionally, facilities in any stage shall allow indoor visits if certain conditions are met, including:
- The visitor presents the facility a negative COVID test (either PCR or antigen) less than 48 hours old;
- The visitor signs an attestation that they have isolated in the time between the sample was taken and the visit and is free from symptoms;
- The facility limits contact as much as possible, including a dedicated visitation space;
- And more HERE.
Currently, counties with “substantial” community spread include Pinal, Gila, Mohave, Yuma, Santa Cruz and Graham. Counties with “moderate” community spread include Coconino, Yavapai, Maricopa, Pima, Navajo, Apache, La Paz and Cochise. Greenlee has “minimal” community spread.
ADHS has partnered with Arizona State University to launch several testing sites providing free COVID-19 saliva diagnostic testing. The test is easy, painless and fast, and those tested will receive results in less than 48 hours. The tests are free for those insured or uninsured. Information on testing availability can be found HERE.
Additionally, ADHS has information on more than 430 testing sites across the state HERE.