The Minnesota Department of Health has announced new guidance allowing long-term care residents to go on one-day outings, including visits to loved ones, just in time for Easter and the end of Passover.
The guidance, which is effective immediately, brings Minnesota in line with CDC guidelines for nursing homes and long-term care facilities.
It will mean that regardless of their vaccination status, long-term care residents in nursing homes and assisted living facilities will be able to leave their facility for less than 24 hours without having to quarantine when they come back, provided they were not in close contact with someone who has COVID-19.
"The change is effective immediately and means that residents, in most circumstances, can go home for Easter or Passover celebrations without needing to worry about quarantining, if they go back to their facility later that day," MDH said.
Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm says the change "presents a nice opportunity for faith-based and family outings for this and other upcoming weekends,” but added: "However, it is still very important for residents and their companions to follow recommendations such as well-fitting masks, physical distancing and hand washing."
MDH still recommends that residents stick to outdoor visits where possible – which should be easier this weekend with the weather warming up – and also observe social distancing and wear a well-fitting mask.
Those who are in close contact with someone with COVID-19 should quarantine upon their return.
The number of cases, hospitalizations, and deaths in long-term care facilities have dropped significantly since the vaccine rollout started, with long-term care residents and staff among those prioritized first for the vaccines.
The Department of Health announced Wednesday that it will allow residents of assisted living facilities to dine and take part in activities within six feet of other residents provided they're vaccinated.