Ohio’s senior centers and adult day cares will be allowed to reopen Sept. 21, Gov. Mike DeWine announced in a Thursday news conference. He provided a short list of COVID-19 safety measures that such facilities would need to enact in order to welcome guests again: Limit capacity to practice safe social distancing, screen all staff and guests, require face coverings and implement CDC-approved cleaning procedures, to start.
More direction will come later, DeWine said. The early announcement was meant to ensure these businesses could begin preparing to reopen after five inert months. “We can do two things at once,” he said. “We can be safe, we can be protective, but we can try to get back to normal, so it’s important to do it.” Unlike assisted living facilities and nursing homes, both of which began allowing some visitation again in July, senior centers and adult day cares in Ohio closed on March 25 and stayed closed over the summer. Although anyone can catch or transmit COVID-19, patients over the age of 50 are among the most likely to develop serious complications and die as a result of their illness. Settings in which seniors gather socially or live together have therefore become hotspots for the novel coronavirus, and government measures meant to stop the spread have been especially stringent.
Also on Thursday, DeWine said the state of Ohio would immediately begin requiring all staff and residents at assisted living facilities — not just nursing homes — to participate in COVID-19 testing.
These staff and residents will undergo non-invasive saliva testing, not the more common swabbing tests, and receive their results with 48 hours.