Intensive Outpatient Program & COVID-19
Face-To-Face Group Counseling Restarts May 18th, 2020
As I mentioned in my previous email, although the Governor’s Executive Order to move the state from high-risk “red” to moderate risk “orange” health guidelineswent into effect last week, many of your operations involve individuals in high risk categories, and we continue to ask licensees to hold on the majority of changes or relaxing of current protocols until you receive specific guidance from us.
However, we understand the need for programs to begin easing some restrictions for the mental well-being of the individuals they serve. As a step in this direction, please see our new Moderate Risk Visitation Guidance, guidance for Protecting High-Risk Individuals, and resources for accessing Personal Protective Equipment below. For all other protocols, we ask that you continue adhering to the information provided on the DHS Provider COVID-19 FAQ and COVID-19 Guidance for Congregate Settings.
Thank you for your partnership.
Director, Office of Licensing
PLEASE NOTE: If a setting cares for high-risk individuals, the setting should continue following “red” procedures, including restricting visitation and interaction outside the home or facility.
- In-person visitation is still discouraged, and virtual visits are still highly encouraged, especially for those in congregate settings, as residing in a congregate setting can be a risk factor in itself for COVID-19 exposure.
- Providers should work to facilitate virtual visits that are more frequent than in-person visits would have been, and consider if they can be unmonitored so the individual has the opportunity to have a more natural interaction with their family, friends, and other loved ones.
- Visits to facilities may be appropriate in very limited circumstances with strict protocols in place, and only if a determination is made that lack of an in-person visit will prevent the individual from permanently returning home (DCFS and JJS), or cause significant harm in another way, AND that the visit does not increase the risk for the individual and others in their environment.
- The decision for an in-person visit should be agreed upon with the Child and Family Team (DCFS or JJS), Person-Centered Planning Team, or other collaborative team working with the individual.
- Visitors must go through screening and symptom checking before the visit, including temperature. A log with visitor name, visit date and time, reason for visit, and symptoms checked and temperature must be kept and available for inspection by the health department and DHS.
- The visit should be held outside whenever possible, and the provider is responsible to ensure that social distancing is maintained.
- Face coverings are strongly encouraged, and required if the visit cannot be held outside or if social distancing cannot be guaranteed.
- Visits using the same protocols as described above may also be appropriate at another location under the direct supervision of staff.
- This information is also available on the DHS Provider COVID-19 FAQunder “VISITORS/PUBLIC ACCESS TO FACILITIES.”
Protecting High-Risk Individuals: While Utah has moved to the moderate risk phase, individuals in high-risk categories, including older adults and those who are immunocompromised or have underlying conditions, should continue to follow “high-risk” protocols, and exercise all possible caution. Individuals who work or live with persons in high-risk categories should also continue following “high risk” guidance.
- Providers should take extra precaution with individuals in high-risk populations by limiting their close contact with multiple people, including having the same caretakers whenever possible. Individuals caring for or living with a high-risk individual should conduct themselves as if they are a significant risk to the high-risk individual.
- In addition, while disability alone may not be related to a higher risk for getting COVID-19 or having severe illness, individuals with limited mobility or who cannot avoid coming into close contact with others, those who have trouble practicing preventative measures such as hand washing and social distancing, and those who may not be able to communicate symptoms of illness may be at higher risk of becoming infected or having unrecognized illness.
- Please review this information carefully, including this safety checklist to learn more about how to protect your high-risk staff and clients.
- The State of Utah maintains a spreadsheet of vendors with PPE available to purchase
- PPE Push Packs are available businesses with 50 or fewer employees
- The Department of Health recommends this guidance for proper use of PPE and PPE contingencies, especially when caring for individuals with confirmed or suspected COVID-19