The change aligns with new guidance released this week from the Centers of Medicare and Medicaid Services and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and reflects rapidly improving trends in long-term care facilities.
CDC statistics say 98.2 million vaccine doses have been administered, with 62.4% of the population over age 65 receiving one dose and 32.2% of that age group being fully vaccinated.
Those visitors, the guidance says, should maintain a safe distance from a nursing home's other residents and staff.
The guidance was also the latest indication that the pandemic in the United States was easing, with coronavirus cases continuing to decrease across the nation, though the seven-day average remains at more than 58,000.
A resident is in quarantine - whether they are vaccinated or unvaccinated.
Although this opens up visits for many nursing home residents, there are a few cases included in the guidance where visitations should be limited because of a high risk. In late November, the pandemic crossed a milestone, having killed 100,000 workers and residents in USA long-term care facilities, according to an analysis by the Kaiser Family Foundation, a health-policy research group.
County public health officials reported 14 new cases among skilled nursing residents and 24 new cases among staff Wednesday, which brings the totals since the beginning of the pandemic to 4,301 and 2,803, respectively.
The eight pages of recommendations, which are not legally binding, did come with suggested limits, saying that "responsible indoor visitation" should be allowed at all times unless a guest is visiting an unvaccinated resident in a county where the COVID-19 positivity rate is higher than 10% and less than 70% of residents in the nursing home have been fully vaccinated.
"We are pleased the federal government recognized the decrease in COVID-19 cases in nursing homes and revised the visitation restrictions to benefit residents and families", said Alabama Nursing Home Association president & CEO Brandon Farmer in a statement.
The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services is updating its visitation guidance for long-term care facilities to allow for in-person, indoor or outdoor, visitation in most circumstances.
Parkinson urged the CDC to continue giving vaccine priority to nursing home residents and staff "to help facilitate these reunifications", making sure shots are easy to obtain for new residents, and for those who hesitated at first but have chosen to be vaccinated now.
Beyond those caveats, nursing home visits will be allowed in Alabama. If a visit can take place outdoors, that is preferred, even for the fully vaccinated. They tell us this continues to be the safest way to prevent the spread of COVID-19, particularly if either party has not been fully vaccinated.