Michigan to allow indoor, outdoor visitation at nursing homes

Michiganders can again visit loved ones in nursing homes across the state, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced Tuesday.

Both inside and outside visits will be allowed at nursing homes that haven't had a positive COVID-19 test within their facilities in the past 14 days. A max of two visitors will be allowed, and masks and social distancing are mandatory.

Additionally, those planning to visit indoors must have a negative rapid COVID test.

"As we continue our vaccine rollout and make steady progress against the virus, we are taking additional incremental steps to re-engage to ensure we are protecting our families and frontline workers and saving lives," Whitmer said. 

According to Whitmer, all residents in skilled nursing homes have been offered their first dose of the vaccine, and many have had their second dose. 

The nursing home order also states that facilities should make efforts to allow group activities and communal dining for residents who do not have COVID-19 and are not in isolation. These activities must require masks when not eating, distancing and access to hand hygeine. 

With the nursing home announcement, Whitmer's office also said adult foster care homes licensed for 12 or fewer residents, hospice facilities, substance use disorder residential facilities and assisted-living facilities are encouraged to implement visitor and staff testing protocols.

Whitmer also announced a series of changes to restrictions on restaurants, entertainment venues and gatherings during Tuesday's press conference, including increases in capacities.

READ: Whitmer loosens COVID-19 restrictions on restaurants, other establishments

These changes come as the state's COVID-19 case rate has started to plateau. According to the state is at 91.2 cases per million, a number similar to October's rate. The positivity rate is 3.7%, up slightly from last week's rate of 3.5%. The rate is also similar to October's numbers. Also, hospital capacity dedicated to COVID-19 patients is 3.9%.