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Deaconess nurse Craig Meier gets one of the first doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine delivered to the Tri-State.2020...and now 2021 will go down in history- its full impact is still being written. Here is WNIN, IPBS and Side Effects complete coverage.

Nursing Homes Must Allow Visitors, With Few Exceptions

Indiana nursing homes should be open to visitors, with very few exceptions, according to new guidance from the federal government.

State Health Commissioner Dr. Kris Box said directives from the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Servicesorder nursing homes to allow visits at all times.

“These visits can occur in single occupancy rooms but are still discouraged for residents in double occupancy rooms,” Box said.

Box said physical touch, like hugging, is allowed for nursing home residents, as long as they wear a mask and wash their hands both before and after. And facilities generally must allow visits of up to two hours.

READ MORE: How Will Indiana Distribute COVID-19 Vaccines? Here's What You Need To Know

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These new visitation rules do not apply if the local county has a COVID-19 test positivity rate of more than 10 percent, if there’s a widespread outbreak of the virus originating in the nursing home or if fewer than 70 percent of the facility’s residents are fully vaccinated.

Box said if nursing homes aren't following the new guidance, Hoosiers can report that to the Indiana Department of Health.

Contact reporter Brandon at bsmith@ipbs.org or follow him on Twitter at @brandonjsmith5.

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