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No COVID-19 Cases Linked to Essential Caregivers in Nursing Homes, MDH Says

No COVID-19 Cases Linked to Essential Caregivers in Nursing Homes, MDH Says Click to Enlarge Photo: Pixabay

(KNSI) - After the Minnesota Department of Health published guidance for essential caregiver visits at nursing homes and assisted living facilities in July, no cases of COVID-19 have resulted from those visits, director of the Office of Health Facility Complaints Lindsey Krueger said.

Essential caregivers are defined as a non-employee friend or family member who "was previously actively engaged with the resident or is committed to providing companionship and/or assistance with activities of daily living," according to the state health department.

Balancing COVID-19 safety with residents' well-being is a priority, Krueger said.

"The goal is to maximize the health and the well-being of residents in long-term care facilities," Krueger said.

In a voluntary survey, 68 percent of long-term care facilities in Minnesota say they have implemented essential caregiver guidance for visitation.

The guidance for essential caregivers — in addition to window visitation, outdoor visitation and other options for safe visits — is not required, Krueger said, so that facilities can make the best decisions for their situations.

Thursday, Minnesota identified 47 new COVID-19 cases in long-term care facilities; 28 of those cases affect healthcare workers in those facilities.

"Over time, what we've seen is that a much larger proportion of our cases are occurring in healthcare workers rather than residents, and that really is a function of the increase in community spread that we're seeing," MDH infectious disease director Kris Ehresmann said.

Ehresmann added that 73 percent of the state's long-term care facilities have not had any new COVID-19 cases in the last 28 days.