Federal health officials encourage nursing homes to resume allowing indoor visits

Biden administration health officials Wednesday encouraged nursing homes to resume in-person visits. The new guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Service cites slowing infection rates and increased vaccinations as justification for allowing indoor visitors.

Health officials “recognized that physical separation from family and other loved ones has taken a physical and emotional toll on residents and their families,” according to a statement.

Why now: CMS said the new guidance comes after three million doses of the coronavirus vaccine have been distributed to nursing home residents.

While “outdoor visitation is preferred,” the agencies said that may not be practical because of weather or a resident’s health.

Even as President Biden and top health officials continue to urge caution, the guidance is the latest sign that the administration sees the need for strict health precautions waning.