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Windows in the way: COVID-19 policy distances Auburn nursing home residents, relatives

September 13, 2020. Summarized by summa-bot.

March 12 was the last time Kim Dungey could hug her 85-year-old mother.

March 12 was the last time Kim Dungey could hug her 85-year-old mother. She and her father, Bud Peck, saw her mother, Ann Peck, in The Commons on St. Anthony that day.

The next day, the state Department of Health banned visits at nursing homes due to the pandemic. For six months, now, the closest Dungey has been able to get to her mother has been a window on The Commons' first floor. They stand on opposite sides and talk by phone during these "window visits. " But they're not very satisfying, Dungey said.

The New York State Health Facilities Association and New York State Center for Assisted Living said face-to-face visits are "essential for the health and well-being of our residents and their families and loved ones. " On Saturday, advocacy project EssentialCareVisitor. com held a rally in front of Gov. Andrew Cuomo's New York City office, and called the guidance "tragic. "Though the state has been changing that guidance, it hasn't done as much as Dungey and others believe necessary.

On July 10, the state Department of Health lifted its ban on visits, but only at long-term care facilities that haven't had a positive COVID-19 test for the previous 28 days, the window recommended by the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

A Health Facilities Association survey found that 77% of them have not been able to allow visits again since July. Even in Cayuga County, where the number of positive tests has been low, 28 days is unreasonable, Dungey said.

The facility had resumed visitation the week prior after its reopening plan was approved, said Julie Sheedy, chief marketing and engagement officer for Loretto. Additional positive tests at The Commons followed on July 29 and Aug. 7, resetting the 28-day clock each time.

these people have got to see their families. "Shortening the positive test window at nursing homes from 28 days to 14 — the number of quarantine days the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends — may strike that balance. Fitzmaurice said she'd gladly comply with the temperature checks, social distancing, personal protective equipment and other requirements of the state Department of Health's guidance.

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