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Governor Abbott restricts visitation for state-run nursing homes, day cares and jails

Empty Jail Cell
Posted at 12:49 PM, Mar 13, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-15 17:28:42-04

AUSTIN, TX — During a press conference on Friday, Governor Greg Abbott said the state is directing limited visitation in some areas with those more vulnerable.

He said they will be restricting visitation at nursing homes, day cares, assisted living facilities, prisons, jails and juvenile justice facilities.

Texas Health and Human Services (HHS) has issued updated, expanded guidance to nursing homes that now includes restricting facility access to staff, certain medical professionals, and other providers of essential services.

“At the direction of Governor Greg Abbott and effective immediately, we are now requiring nursing facilities to prevent non-essential visitors from access given the significant health and safety risk to residents posed by COVID-19,” said David Kostroun, HHS deputy executive commissioner for Regulatory Services. “These measures are precautionary and based on the state disaster declaration made by Governor Abbott, as well as new federal guidance.”

Until further notice, nursing facilities are encouraged to use alternate means of communication such as FaceTime, Skype, or other video or audio systems for residents to maintain contact with family and friends.

“We understand how difficult these new restrictions will be for residents and their families and loved ones,” Kostroun said. “First and foremost, we must all share the goal of protecting the people who are proving to be most vulnerable to this new virus.”

The state is also asking state agencies to take any action necessary to facilitate telemedicine.

This comes after the governor issued a statewide public health disaster for Texas on Friday.