SAN MATEO COUNTY (CBS SF) – Nursing homes in San Mateo County will soon be allowed to welcome visitors, with limitations, under a new order issued Wednesday.

The new order by Health Officer Dr. Scott Morrow allows for limited outdoor visits from family and friends of residents, along with spiritual advisors and those charged with making legal decisions.

Under the new rules, outdoor visits must be scheduled in advance and be in a designated area that facilitates social distancing. Residents and staff supervising the visit would be required to wear surgical masks, while visitors must wear face coverings. No more than two adults can visit one resident, but cohabitating residents may participate in the same visit together.

The order does not allow for “hired service providers” such as hair stylists or barbers.

Indoor visits are also being allowed in very limited circumstances, such as when a resident is at the end of life.

Facilities, which must also adhere to CDC and state public health guidelines, would only be allowed to hold visits if there are no positive COVID-19 cases among staff or residents after performing two rounds of surveillance testing. They must also certify with the county health department if they have adequate access to coronavirus testing, are not short-staffed and have adequate supplies of PPE and cleaning supplies.

Long-term care facilities have been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic and San Mateo County is no exception. As of July 8th, officials said at least 538 coronavirus cases and 78 deaths have been associated with facilities in the county.

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