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Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) Director Robert Gordon has signed two epidemic orders that provide for expanded visitations at group facilities while also requiring precautions that protect public health.

The orders allow expanded visitation in long-term care facilities including nursing homes, and in facilities for youth who are in child caring institutions or juvenile justice facilities.

MDHHS said the orders are effective immediately.  

“It’s been very difficult for residents of these facilities to be unable to see their loved ones during the pandemic,” Gordon said. “We are glad Michigan can now allow visits in some circumstances, but we continue to urge caution and require safety precautions like wearing masks during visits.”

According to MDHHS, one order applies to residential long-term care facilities, which include nursing homes, homes for the aged, adult foster care facilities, hospice facilities, substance abuse disorder residential facilities, independent living facilities and assisted living facilities.

The other order affects youth in congregate care facilities. The youth congregate care order allows youth residents to have off-campus visits to a parent, foster parent, or prospective adoptive parent if the person or persons being visited agree in advance to abide by safety measures as recommended by the CDC to reduce exposure to COVID-19. These measures must have been in place for at least two weeks before the scheduled visit.

MDHHS said safety requirements that facilities must follow to allow visitors can be found in the epidemic orders for residential long-term care facilities and congregate care facilities. The requirements in each order are different based on the needs of each population and safety concerns.

According to MDHHS, both orders require visitors to be assessed for COVID-19 symptoms, to wear masks or face coverings, and to maintain social distancing, among other precautions.

MDHHS is encouraging outdoor visitation when possible.

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