While the general public is in phase three of the Stay Safe Minnesota Plan as it relates to the COVID-19 pandemic, long-term care facilities have not been able to move out of phase zero in order to keep residents safe.

According to a recent press release from Renville County Public Health, long-term care facilities, including nursing homes, assisted livings and other congregate settings, have been the hardest hit by Minnesota’s coronavirus outbreak.

The majority of COVID-19 related fatalities in Minnesota have been among older adults who are living in these long-term care facilities.

While that remains a reality, changes are also slowly being implemented. A number of area facilities have announced new visitation options that include outdoor opportunities.

In a letter recently presented to families of those living in its long-term care facilities, including the River Valley Health and Rehabilitation Center and Wood Dale Home, Inc. both in Redwood Falls, it was announced that outdoor, no contact visits were being made available.

According to the letter, “after a great deal of planning and collaboration with the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH), we are excited to announced the ability to have outdoor contactless visits at our facility.”

A Facebook announcement was also recently made by Vista Prairie at Garnette Gardens in Redwood Falls indicating an outdoor visits option.

In each instance, there are specific days when those visits can take place, and appointments must be made in advance. The public is encouraged to visit the Web sites or Facebook Pages of these or other organizations in order to learn more about the options and regulations that are in place.

There may also be facilities that have chosen to wait to offer these types of visits.

Additional guidelines related to long-term care facilities and outdoor visits can be found on the MDH Web site at www.health.state.mn.us.

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