News Releases

News Releases

South Carolina Updates Nursing Home Visitation Guidelines; All Facilities Required to Provide Visitation with Few Limitations

March 19, 2021

COLUMBIA, S.C. — Beginning today, all nursing homes and assisted living facilities in South Carolina are required to offer outdoor and/or indoor visitation, with few exceptions, based on new guidelines released by the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC). These newly updated visitation guidelines, available here, follow federal guidance released on March 10. 

“Residents of nursing homes and assisted living facilities, as well as their families and friends, benefit emotionally, mentally, and physically from being able to see their loved ones,” said Nick Davidson, Senior Deputy for Public Health. “While visitation limitations were necessary for protecting the health of residents during the pandemic, current recommendations are now to allow for visitation with disease prevention protocols in place.”

As of today, facilities are required to allow visitation at all times and for all residents. However, there are circumstances involving a high risk of COVID-19 transmission when facilities should limit indoor visitation for specific residents, as outlined below.

  • Unvaccinated residents: if the facility’s COVID-19 county positivity rate is greater than 10 percent and less than 70 percent of residents in the facility are fully vaccinated
  • Residents with confirmed COVID-19 infection, whether vaccinated or unvaccinated, until they have met the criteria to discontinue Transmission-Based Precautions
  • Residents in quarantine, whether vaccinated or unvaccinated, until they have met criteria for release from quarantine
  • A new case of COVID-19 is identified, a facility must suspend indoor visitation pending the results of a round of facility-wide testing

Prior to these updated guidelines, 177 facilities reported they were not allowing visitation based on previous visitation guidelines.

Vaccinations of Long-term Care Residents and Staff
As of today, 100 percent (193 out of 193) of the state’s nursing homes have had their first and second COVID-19 vaccination clinics completed, and 95 percent (185 of 193) of their final third clinics completed. A total of 98 percent (485 of 495) of the state’s assisted living facilities have had their first vaccination clinic completed and 93 percent (462 of 495) have had their second clinic completed, with final third clinics occurring or scheduled as well.

In total, more than 65,000 doses (first and second) of COVID-19 vaccine have been given to our state’s roughly 40,000 long-term care facility residents, and more than 39,900 doses (first and second) have been given to the approximately 40,000 workers who care for them.

While the public should assume their loved one’s facility has outdoor and indoor visitation, DHEC strongly recommends contact the nursing home or assisted living facility to confirm its visitation status prior to planning a visit. Anyone with concerns that a facility isn’t properly following the new visitation guidelines can submit a complaint to DHEC, and the agency will follow-up.

You can view the current visitation status of all nursing homes and assisted living facilities in the state online here. Because this visitation reporting is updated weekly, beginning the week of March 30, the dashboard will begin reflecting each facility's visitation status in accordance with the updated visitation guidance announced today.

For the latest information about nursing homes and extended care facilities impacted by COVID-19, including cases and deaths, visitation status, and county percent positivity rates, click here. For the latest COVID-19 information in South Carolina, click here.



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