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Visitation Policy at Local Senior Homes Unchanged Amid Coronavirus Uptick

WHEELING – Local nursing and assisted living homes haven’t changed visitation guidelines as local coronavirus numbers see an increase.

Visitation at senior living centers was prohibited during much of the spring amid fears of the coronavirus spreading among residents. Restrictions, however, were lifted for West Virginia nursing homes and assisted living facilities in early June as the number of cases in the state decreased. But as the number of those testing positive for COVID-19 has again begun to increase, they aren’t yet adjusting their policies.

“We opened our facility on June 17, and we had a very successful round of visitation,” said Donald Kirsch, administrator at the Good Shepherd Nursing Home in Wheeling. “Since that time, we have decided to have seven days of visitation, followed by seven days of closure. This is easier to monitor than having non-stop visitation.”

The policy is being continued at Good Shepherd, but is subject to change, he said.

“The situation is very fluid,” Kirsch said. “We have been watching them (residents) everyday, and watching the governor to hear what he has to say. That is the boat we are in now. Things could change at any moment.”

Tess Gaudino, manager at the Welty Home for the Aged in Wheeling, said that facility also is following the one week open, one week closed rule.

“You have to make an appointment to have a visit,” she said. “Visitors will be given a gown, a mask, and must wash and sanitize their hands.”

Each resident can have two visitors, one hour at a time, according to Gaudino.

At Elmhurst, The House of Friendship, residents and their visitors have the option of meeting in many outdoor venues on the property, or inside one designated room within the building, said Marilyn Mull, director of marketing.

Visitation at Elmhurst takes place from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Two visitors per resident are permitted, and they may stay for an hour.

When visitors come to Elmhurst, they must first permit the taking of their temperature. They are next required to wash their hands and wear gloves, and must bring their own masks to wear.

If they are visiting inside with a resident, they also must wear a gown.The mask and glove wearing residents still are required to socially distance if they meet with a resident on a porch, at an umbrella table or at the gazebo, according to Mull.

“They can still be six feet apart and enjoy their visit,” she said.

In Ohio, outdoor visitation at nursing and assisted living homes has been permitted since June 29. Visitation, however, has not resumed at the Cumberland Pointe Care Center in St. Clairsville.

“We haven’t made any changes. There are no visitors at this time,” said Rose Tisko, director of nursing.

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