After a year of hardship due to COVID-19, we are excited to share that the COVID restrictions have changed! This has been such a long time coming for our residents, families, and staff. The Minnesota Department of Health wants to ensure that residents are staying safe while allowing them to gain some of their independence back. The purpose of loosening restrictions is to find that happy medium where residents are still protected while allowing them more social and emotional connections.
The Minnesota Department of Health recently announced that they are removing some restrictions that have been in place over the past year. The biggest news comes for fully vaccinated residents, and we are hopeful that as more and more of the community gets vaccinated, we can continue to pull back on these restrictions. The last year of the pandemic has been challenging for residents and their families. At Woodstone, we did our best to keep our residents engaged and connected with family by offering virtual visits. However, we understand the importance of real life visits which is why we are so excited for this news.
What are the New Restrictions?
- A fully vaccinated resident can now leave the community for more than a necessary medical appointment without being required to quarantine for 14 days. That means they can go out to lunch, shopping, etc. with friends and family.
- A fully vaccinated new resident does not need to quarantine for 14 days upon moving in.
- If a friend or family member is visiting a fully vaccinated resident, they both must still wear a mask, but they can hug and sit closer than 6 feet.
- It’s important to note that the definition of a fully vaccinated person is that they have received both doses of their vaccine plus 14 days after the second dose.
“The regular presence of family and friends is vital to the health and well-being of residents,”
– State Long-Term Care Ombudsman Cheryl Hennen
What does it mean to be fully vaccinated?
- You have received both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine
- Not going out for 14 days after you have received your vaccine
- Still making sure that you are wearing your mask when out in the community
In the beginning when the restrictions were the tightest, no visitors were allowed unless they were essential health care workers, like hospice or therapy. Even then, not all assisted livings were letting them in. Residents couldn’t go to a medically necessary appointment without having to quarantine for 14 days upon return. Over time, the MN Department of Health allowed for Essential Caregivers. This is a person designated to a resident who is allowed to come in and provide essential cares for a resident. There was an application and training process for these individuals, but they could come in on a limited basis to see the resident. The Department of Health also eventually allowed a resident to leave for a medically necessary appointment without having to quarantine. We also got guidance on when visitors could come back in to see their loved ones, and the ability to do that was tied to the case rates in the county. Now, they are allowed to leave if they are fully vaccinated and we are hoping the next step is the ability to sit next to each other at mealtime and gather more for activities.
Doug Trenda came and visited his mother and the words that first came to his head was “I love you mom”. This is such a touching time for our residents and their families.
Dolores Holtz, a resident at Woodstone, and her son dined out for lunch recently.
“This was perfect,” she said. “We got to get out of here and he took me all over. We just were so busy and it was fun, fun, fun! I even ran into a few friends and it just made my day”. Holtz is looking forward to getting back to the Hutchinson Senior Center to play 500 or pinochle. “I just love a game of cards,” she said.
Ruth Goez, one of our New Ulm residents stated, “I am so excited to finally be able to go to work again, it’s the best news ever”- Ruth Goelz
This is such an exciting time for everyone in our community. To be able to allow this to happen is such a big deal for everyone! You can now come into our communities and spend time with your loved one while following the new guidelines. We can’t wait to see you all finally being reunited with your loved ones.