PROVIDENCE, RI – In an effort to keep residents, visitors, and staff safe, Governor Dan McKee and the Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH) announced new regulations today that require visitors at nursing homes and assisted living facilities to either be vaccinated or provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test. This new measure is another crucial action taken by the McKee Administration in the last two months to combat the recent surge in COVID-19 cases. These new requirements go into effect today. In addition to these changes, all visitors must now be masked in nursing homes and assisted living facilities. Previously, masking requirements were tied to vaccination status.
"In addition to rapidly increasing our testing and vaccination capacity, our Administration is taking another crucial step to protect our most vulnerable residents while we address the recent surge in COVID-19 cases," said Governor McKee. "Our team has worked with nursing home and assisted living facilities to develop a policy that will help alleviate pressure on their operations and keep residents, staff and visitors safe."
"With COVID-19 case rates elevated in Rhode Island and across the country, we need to take steps to safeguard the members of our community who are more vulnerable," said Director of Health Nicole Alexander-Scott, MD, MPH. "If you have a loved one in a nursing home or assisted living facility, the best way to visit safely with that person is to get vaccinated. However, to ensure that residents can still see their loved ones, testing is also an option."
If a visitor opts to show proof of a negative test, they must either have a negative antigen (rapid) test result from within the previous 48 hours, or a negative PCR test result from within the previous 72 hours. Either electronic or paper proof is acceptable. If a frequent visitor opts to show proof of vaccination status, a facility may document that status, so the visitor does not have to continually demonstrate their vaccination status.
The complete regulations are available online at https://rules.sos.ri.gov/regulations/Part/216-40-10-27.