The Minnesota Department of Health has released new guidance effective August 29th on visitor policies at long-term care facilities, amid the continuing COVID pandemic.

Health officials say the primary factor on whether visitation policies can be relaxed is, whether there has been any exposure in the facility within the past 28 days to a COVID case in either a resident, a staff member or a service provider.

The Health Department says long-term care facilities should also look at the level of COVID cases in the surrounding community, the facility’s size, and how much the staff are also working at other long term care facilities.

Commissioner Jan Malcolm contends COVID risk must be considered, but also that residents have been isolated for months — a significant risk to their emotional well-being.