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Assisted living facilities forced to put visitations on hold

Posted at 6:13 PM, Jul 27, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-27 18:15:06-04

LANCASTER, N.Y. (WKBW) — Many families all over New York State are wondering when will they ever be able to see their loved ones who are locked down inside a nursing home. Some people say they are willing to do whatever it takes for one more hug.

"I'm an only child, so me and my mom have always been a team. It's very hard," said David Grubka of Lancaster.

Grubka lives just one street away from his mother, who lives in Elderwood's assisted living facility in Lancaster. Visitations resumed at a distance in Phase 3 of re-opening.

But now, things are locked down once again.

"They get to going good and then boom. They're back to square one," said Grubka.

They were forced to shut down visitations because there are two confirmed cases of COVID-19 at the Elderwood site in Lancaster, according to a spokesperson.

"We're willing to be tested, we'll put on a hazmat suit if you want us to, we're desperate for a hug," said Grubka.

This is a New York State Department of Health rule, that says visitations must be shut down for 28 days if a resident or staff member tests positive.

"And that would start again if God forbid there were another case within that 28 days," said Lisa Newcomb, Executive Director of the Empire State Association of Assisted Living.

Newcomb has been working with the state to get the 28-day rule changed to 14 days instead and other visitation rules relaxed.

"Just so more families can see their residents," said Newcomb.

She's also advocating to be able to re-open hair salons within facilities. She encourages family members to join her by sending emails and letters to the Department of Health.

"We're advocating issue by issue as best we can while trying to get through a unique situation," said Newcomb.