SLO County is lifting the local executive order restricting visitors at skilled nursing facilities that resulted from the coronavirus pandemic.

However, County public health officials agree with the State’s visitor limitation guidance that our local skilled nursing facilities allow only one visitor with the patient at a time.

The order took effect on June 5 and was intended to protect SLO County community members who are most vulnerable to serious COVID-19 illness.

“Visitors are an essential part of patient care and recovery and play an important role in the mental well-being of patients at skilled nursing facilities,” said County Health Officer Dr. Penny Borenstein. “Please do not visit if you have any COVID-19 symptoms or suspect that you have the virus or have been exposed to it recently. You may even want to get tested before you visit, as an added precaution. Please also follow all of the facility’s instructions on personal protective equipment and health screenings.”

All skilled nursing facilities are required to expand their existing infection control policies to include the development and implementation of a CDPH approved COVID-19 mitigation plan.

Visitors should be wearing their own cloth face covering upon arrival to the facility per CDC recommendations. If they are not, they should be offered a facemask or cloth face covering, as supplies allow, and instructed to wear it while in the facility.

“Throughout this pandemic, we’ve worked to balance the science of transmission with the needs that we, as humans, have for connection,” Dr. Borenstein said. “At this time, we believe the right processes are in place to effectively manage both.”