Vanderburgh Health Dept. recommends no visitation inside nursing homes

Vanderburgh Health Dept. recommends no visitation inside nursing homes

EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WFIE) - The Vanderburgh County Health Department has new recommendations regarding visitation at long-term care facilities.

For months, visitors were not allowed in Indiana due to the pandemic, but many facilities have been allowed to relax rules in recent weeks.

With a surge in COVID-19 cases, the Vanderburgh County Health Department and the Indiana State Department of Health recommend the discontinuing of in-person facility visitation at this time.

Bethel Manor only had in facility visitation for about two weeks before stopping it again. One resident tells us she was really looking forward to those sessions.

For resident Janet Rice, seeing her family is something she looks forward to.

“The closeness that you can have with your relative or whoever comes to visit you,” said Rice.

“We were super excited about being able to offer indoor visitation a few weeks ago and then we noticed the case numbers ourselves we analyzed that ourselves were going up and the positivity rate was going up, so we ended up at the end of last week hitting the pause button on our indoor visitation,” said Josh Bowman.

And not too long after that, the Vanderburgh Health Department sent out a release for long-term care facilities recommending stopping in facility visitation but visiting is still possible.

“People are still doing a lot of the outdoor visits that’s been the most popular, and then really a lot of the residents and families do our window visits where they just talk on the phone through the windows, and we have multiple a day doing that and then we have the facetime,” Bowman said.

But Janet says she has little complaints since she’s still able to see her loved ones.

“It’s pretty good but for her out there that little bar is, where she looks {laughing},” said Rice.

And although just recommendations, Bethel Manor says they’ll be following all guidance given.

“It’s one of those things that whenever the county health department and the state health department put out recommendations; they don’t just do it lightly, there’s a lot of thought put into it,” said Bowman. “You don’t necessarily want to be not following those recommendations and then have something go wrong.”

The Vanderburgh Health Department says they’ll keep reviewing the situation as it progresses to keep determining what’s’ best for these long term care facilities.

Officials tell us this is a recommendation and not a mandate, although many facilities are likely to follow.

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