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Missouri to allow outdoor visits at long-term care facilities

As with the easing of other restrictions in the state, local jurisdictions can impose more strict rules and the individual facilities can impose their own

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Missouri entered Phase 2 of its coronavirus reopening and economic recovery plan Tuesday, but long-term care facilities are still under restrictions.

The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services said Tuesday that long-term care facilities would not be able to "fully reopen" like other businesses in the state, but some restrictions would be eased. 

As part of Phase 2, the state would allow in-person visits at outdoor areas of the facilities, as long as social distancing requirements are maintained. Additionally, the state provided guidelines for facilities that want to resume communal dining and group activities.

RELATED: Missouri to lift all restrictions June 16

As with the easing of other restrictions in the state, local jurisdictions can impose more strict rules and the individual facilities can impose their own restrictions as well.

The coronavirus can cause serious symptoms and death, and older and immunocompromised people are at a higher risk of experiencing more severe symptoms. People in long-term care facilities typically fall into some of those at-risk groups, so strong restrictions have been suggested by the CDC and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid.

According to the Department of Health and Senior Services, 222 long-term care facilities have reported at least one case among a staff member or resident, but more in-depth data from care centers has not been made available. According to state data, 115 of those facilities are in St. Louis, St. Louis County or St. Charles County.

On Wednesday, St. Louis County Executive Sam Page eased some of the county's restrictions on long-term care facilities.

Visitors will still not be allowed inside assisted living facilities and nursing homes, except for end of life circumstances, but assisted living facilities and nursing homes can have visitors on their property outside as long as social distancing guidelines are followed. 

The visitors will be screened like employees of the facilities are screened – including temperature checks.

“If a residential living facility has many different levels of care, then they will be required to follow the more restrictive level of care for their common areas,” Page said.

Up to 25% of the COVID-19 cases are from residents in senior living facilities, Page said, according to data.

RELATED: St. Louis County relaxing COVID-19 restrictions on independent living centers and senior apartments

In May, the state ordered long-term care facilities to report a positive test in a staff member or resident within 24 hours of learning the result.

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