BOSTON (CBS) – Massachusetts health officials are advising nursing and rest homes Wednesday of new guidelines that aim to protect against coronavirus. The updated rules call for strict limitations on who can enter the facilities that house vulnerable populations.

“Nursing homes will be directed to actively screen and restrict access to visitors to ensure the safety and health of residents and staff,” Health & Human Services Secretary Marylou Sudders said a Tuesday press conference where Gov. Charlie Baker declared a state of emergency.

Coronavirus In Massachusetts: Latest Developments

Visitors will not be allowed to enter nursing homes if they have any signs of a respiratory infection such as a fever, cough or sore throat. They must not have been in recent contact with someone who has a respiratory illness, a confirmed diagnosis of coronavirus or is actively under investigation for coronavirus.

“Visitor access will also be restricted to anyone who had international travel within the last 14 days and individuals who are residing in a community where community-based spread of COVID-19 is occurring,” Sudders said.

Nursing home operators are being asked to confirm that their employees are not sick, they haven’t traveled internationally and they haven’t been close to anyone who may have coronavirus in the past two weeks.

Exceptions will be made for people in end-of-life and hospice care, she added.

Visitors to nursing homes are being told to limit their time in the facility, keep 6 feet away from patients and to not visit cafeterias or dining rooms.

As of Tuesday there were 92 positive tests for coronavirus in the state.

 

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