New Mask Requirements in Place at Bethesda

Per the July 23, 2021, mandate issued by the St. Louis County Department of Health, masks will be required in all indoor places open to the general public for everyone aged 5 and older.

This mandate, which includes all fully vaccinated people as well as those who are not fully vaccinated, becomes effective Monday, July 26, 2021.

To access the July 23, 2021, guidance, click here.

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Masks must continue to be worn by anyone who has yet to receive their COVID-19 vaccination and completed the two-week incubation period following the final vaccine.

Masks continue to be required inside all Bethesda assisted living and skilled nursing communities. In Bethesda independent living communities, it is strongly encouraged that all residents wear masks when not in their own apartments.

All visitors and employees will be required to wear masks while in any Bethesda community, regardless of vaccination status.

Bethesda continues to offer the COVID-19 vaccine for residents and staff at clinics held at each community. These clinics take place every 2-4 weeks. Check with the community’s General Manager, Administrator or Executive Director for more details.

Visitation Criteria — Skilled Nursing Facilities (Nursing Homes) and Assisted Living Communities

In adherence to the guidance issued by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) on April 27, 2021, Bethesda’s skilled nursing and assisted living facilities will continue allowing indoor visitation, provided certain criteria are in place.

Outdoor visitation remains the preferred and safest visitation venue. Outdoor visits remain limited to residents who are COVID-19 negative or asymptomatic. These visits are to be coordinated through the facility’s Activities/Life Enrichment team.

For those preferring or requiring indoor visitation, it would be best to contact the Administration at the skilled nursing or assisted living community, to assure that the visitation request can be honored and to understand the criteria better.

Bethesda will allow indoor visitation for residents regardless of vaccination status, except for a few circumstances when visitation should be limited due to a high risk of COVID-19 transmission (end-of-life and compassionate care visits should be permitted at all times).

These scenarios include limiting indoor visitation for unvaccinated residents if the county positivity rate is more than 10% and fewer than 70% of residents in the facility are fully vaccinated.

The restrictive policies enforced by Bethesda for outdoor visitation have not changed. Outdoor visits remain limited to residents who are COVID-19 negative or asymptomatic. These visits are to be coordinated through the facility’s Activities/Life Enrichment team.

Individuals wanting to conduct a visit (indoor, outdoor or compassionate care) visit must be willing to submit to a temperature screening and able to answer “NO” to questions related to signs and symptoms of COVID-19.

Virtual visits (Skype, Zoom, etc.) with residents and patients continue to be coordinated by the Life Enrichment/Activities Directors at each skilled nursing or assisted living community.

Visitation/Activities/Transportation Updates in Independent Living/Retirement Communities

Visitation in our Independent Living/Retirement communities continues to be permitted. Visits remain limited to residents who are COVID-19 negative or asymptomatic. Masks must be worn, and a distance of at least six feet must be kept between resident and visitors who are not fully vaccinated. Please contact the Administration at the community to understand the criteria further.

In addition, per guidance dated May 3, 2021, from the St. Louis County Department of Health, the dining rooms in our Independent Living/Retirement communities can now accommodate full occupancy. Tables already had been positioned to accommodate social distancing. Reservations still must be made in advance. Residents will continue to be given the option of picking up their meals or having them delivered if they prefer.

The following criteria also are in place:

  • Resident activities are able to accommodate participation without restrictions due to number of participants. Masking and social distancing during activity participation will be strongly encouraged. Hand-washing and hand sanitizer usage continue to be strongly encouraged at the completion of the activity. Activity areas are cleaned before and after each activity.
  • Transportation services are now being offered by Bethesda to medical appointments in physician offices as well as to those in medical office buildings. Per the July 23, 2021 guidance, all passengers in Bethesda vehicles will be required to wear masks.
  • Families wanting to deliver groceries or medicine to a resident still need to contact the General Manager.

We appreciate your understanding and compliance with these restrictions regarding visitation and masking. If you have any further questions, please call the management of the appropriate Bethesda community.