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Beechwood Homes in Getzville stops visitation after employee tests positive for COVID-19

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Posted at 5:27 PM, Aug 04, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-12 15:38:44-04

GETZVILLE, NEW YORK (WKBW) — The last time John Strom saw his mom was last Thursday.

"We were about 15 to 20 feet away. We wore masks, and it was outside," Strom said.

The next time he'll be able to see her is August 27. Twenty-eight days from July 31.

"So there were visitations Thursday and Friday, and that was pretty much it," he said.

On July 31, Beechwood Homes in Getzville notified family members and residents that a staff member had tested positive for COVID-19. By New York State law, that meant the nursing home had to stop visitation for 28 days.

"My hopes for today was to go and visit," Strom said. "It was gonna be my second visit, so my spirits were up. Then to have that call from the minister, my hopes were kind of shattered."

Beechwood Continuing Care is home to hundreds of residents. And until last Thursday, many of them had not seen their families for weeks, if not months. That's why Strom says he's so frustrated by the rules.

"Give the people that have practiced social distancing, as myself and the majority of buffalo people keeping incidents down, give us a break."

In a statement, Beechwood Homes said they agreed that the 28-days seemed overly restrictive — but their ultimate goal is to keep residents, staff members, and families safe. And while they share the families' frustrations, they must follow New York State law.

"There's a large quantity of people at the nursing home and families who will be hurt by this," Strom said.

Hundreds of New Yorkers are currently signing a petition asking the NYS Department of Health to amend their ruling on nursing home visits. Many have left comments pleading to see their loved ones just one more time.