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This page offers all of Delaware Public Media's ongoing coverage of the COVID-19 outbreak and how it is affecting the First State. Check here regularly for the latest new and information.

Visitation roll out in long-term care facilities ongoing, most residents vaccinated

Sophia Schmidt
Delaware Public Media

State officials say visitation has resumed at most of Delaware’s long-term care facilities and most residents in them statewide are now vaccinated.

The stateallowed visitation at long-term care facilities in all three counties to restart two weeks ago, after several weeks of only allowing some visitation for compassionate care.

The facilities are required to submit a plan to the state on how they can safely allow indoor and outdoor visitation, and the extent to which they can offer visitation is based on the COVID status of staff and residents.

Director of the State Division of Health Care Quality Corinna Getchell says most facilities in the state have submitted plans and most are approved, but she notes some challenges as the level of visitation facilities qualify for can change quickly.

“The stages that the facilities are in have been changing pretty frequently, unfortunately, but we are ready to review those plans and happy the facilities can allow family members to see their residents as it is safe to do so,” said Getchell.   

Getchell notes there are still some facilities with active COVID cases, which is considered an outbreak under the state’s guidance and does not allow for routine, indoor visitors. 

She adds most long-term care facility residents who want a vaccine have gotten one. That population is receiving vaccines through a federal pharmacy program which delivered more than 57,000 doses of vaccine to Delaware so far.

“With the federal pharmacy partnership program, they did the vaccines for both the residents and the staff and each facility has three visits from the pharmacy and the majority of those visits have been completed,” said Getchell.   

A recent national study from the American Healthcare Association showed an 82 percent decline in COVID cases in nursing homes with the rollout of the vaccine.

The latest data counts more than 2,400 COVID cases among long-term care facility residents in Delaware since the start of the pandemic and 700 related deaths—which accounts for almost half of the state’s COVID death toll.

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