JOPLIN, Mo. — According to a new survey, there’s been a dramatic drop in the number of covid-19 cases, as well as covid-19 deaths in U.S. nursing homes. But when will that lead to a change in visitation policies at local nursing homes?
The only way to visit a loved one at the Joplin Health & Rehab Center is to talk with them by phone separated by an outside window, or by sitting outside the facility separated by a distance of six feet with both parties wearing masks. But Administrator Michael Harrison that could change soon, with both parties being able to meet inside the building in a room away from all others. He says those visits will have to be arranged in advance.
Michael Harrison, Administrator, Joplin Health & Rehabilitation, said, “We will actually have to have our staff there to monitor and supervise social distancing, to go along with that is is the fact that do we have staff to monitor that, so of course at breakfast lunch and dinner time all of our staff is working on getting our residents fed.”
Harrison says that change will take place when certain conditions are met, both inside the facility, where there hasn’t been a case of covid-19 among residents and staff in ten weeks, and the number of cases in the county in which his business is located, in his case, Newton County.
“We got down to 3% and if we would have stayed down at 3%, we could have done this a couple weeks or last week on this, but because the positivity rate went back up, then that kind of threw everything back a little bit more.”
But he says it may be awhile before residents are allowed to leave the facility and visit the homes of their friends and family.
So is there anything the public can do to help speed up the process of face to face meetings and keeping positivity rates low, Harrison says yes, get your vaccinations.
Harrison reiterates what other health officials have said. Wearing a mask and hand washing are part of that prevention formula.