The Department of Human Services (DHS) has announced they are restricting visitation at DHS state run facilities in Pennsylvania to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
“The Wolf administration is committed to serving vulnerable populations every day, and that commitment will not waiver in the face of an emergency,” said DHS Secretary Teresa Miller. “We will take any and all steps necessary to protect the health and safety of anyone in one of our state centers, state hospitals, youth development centers, or youth forestry camps, and I have the utmost confidence in the DHS employees who work at these facilities to continue providing professional and compassionate care even under stressful circumstances.”
All visitors are currently prohibited from all state center and state hospital campuses, youth development centers, and youth forestry camps. The policy will remain in place until guidance from public-health professionals changes.
Exceptions to the policy are in place for visits of medical necessity, visits by probation departments or legal counsel, and family or clergy visits approved by the facility director. Residents of state hospitals maintain their rights to attorney consultations.
Any visitor permitted will be screened for health concerns upon their arrival.
Other actions that have been implemented at the state centers and hospitals to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and protect residents and staff include but are not limited to:
- Updated emergency staff shortage plans and pandemic emergency plans
- Identified quarantine areas and established quarantine plans
- Posted signage at each facility with information from the PA Department of Health about COVID-19
- Increased frequency of cleaning/disinfection of doorknobs, light switches, etc.
- Provided additional training to staff and residents about hand washing and other infection-control measures
- Reviewed inventory of cleaning supplies and personal protective equipment and ordered additional supplies as needed
- Trained supervisors and managers to screen for COVID-19 symptoms