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SC long-term care facilities begin to lock down visits after Trump’s coronavirus speech

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After a presidential address from the White House touched on the safety of the nation’s elderly, South Carolina’s long-term care facilities are considering visitation limits to their facilities.

Health officials have been crystal clear that the new coronavirus poses the greatest threat to the elderly. And given 26 people have died as of Wednesday night at a long-term care facility in Washington state where coronavirus spread, all nursing homes and assisted living facilities are on high alert.

During an address to the nation late Wednesday evening, President Donald Trump said his administration is “strongly advising” all nursing homes suspend medically unnecessary visits.

“The highest risk is for elderly populations with underlying health conditions,” Trump said. “We are strongly advising that nursing homes for the elderly suspend all medically unnecessary visits.”

Elderly people should also avoid travel and large gatherings, the president said

Gov. Henry McMaster said in a statement Thursday morning that nursing homes should “carefully consider the South Carolina Health and Environmental Control’s guidance and determine whether it would be best for the health and well-being of those in their care to limit outside visitors.”

Randy Lee, president of the South Carolina Health Care Association, said the state’s long-term care facilities are already restricting visits one way or another. But most have not shut their doors to visitors entirely, he said.

Lee said there has been no directive from state officials to close facilities’ doors. But nursing homes and assisted living facilities know the fewer people who come into the building, the better.

“This is a very vulnerable population,” Lee said. “We will always err on the side of caution.”

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