DENVER (CBS4) – Colorado leaders are piecing together a plan to allow limited visits to nursing homes in the state in the near future. Since the coronavirus outbreak, visitation by family members and close friends to the majority of such facilities has not been allowed. For more than 80 days, most residents in senior care have spent nearly their entire day isolated in their individual rooms to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

(credit: CBS)

“We know the virus is incredibly deadly inside nursing homes, which is why nursing homes and senior care facilities are taking extraordinary steps to reduce the risk of workers and visitors from bringing the virus in,” Gov. Jared Polis said in a Thursday afternoon news conference

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Those drastic actions have raised concerns among some Colorado specialists who work with older adults and fear that their mental health could be jeopardized.

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“This is a difficult time for everybody,” Polis said. “It’s also particularly hard on older Coloradans, living in greater fear of a virus that has a greater fatality rate for them living in nursing homes and congregate care facilities, unable to visit with their loved ones.”

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Polis announced that the state’s new plan to help address those concerns is called Lifeline Pass. While leaders will spend the next week hashing out the specifics, that general rule will be that outside visits will be allowed for relatives who test negative for COVID-19 and who have no known exposure and don’t have any coronavirus symptoms. The opportunity for a visit would expire 48 hours after a negative test result comes in.