Augusta-Covid-19 hit long term personal care home facilities and nursing homes residents hard. As cases and deaths increased people living in those facilities were not allowed to have outside visitors, but that could soon change.
“We’ve seen the number of cases throughout long-term care go down, it’s proving that these environments are safe again for visitation.”
Executive director of the Georgia War Veterans nursing home, Carlton Deese, says it’s been a year since residents could visit with their families.
Deese says, “They’re getting tired of being locked up in doors and now that the weather is getting nice they want to get back outside and their families want to be able to visit with them.”
The facility was among the first in the state to receive the covid-19 vaccine.
“We were number one on the list we were in the first group, and then each veteran and their families had the opportunity to sign up,” said Deese.
Deese says the nursing home had no positive cases this week and now they’re preparing to change their visitor policy.
“We intend to try and follow the Georgia Department of Public Health’s requirements on that, so it probably will be several more weeks before we’re able to allow in door visits but again we have to take the state’s lead on that,” said Deese.
NewsChannel 6 spoke with Dr. Jose Vazquez, an infectious disease expert at Augusta University about just how safe it was to roll back these restrictions.
Dr. Vazquez says, “if one person is vaccinated, you have to remember that these vaccines are 95 percent effective not only in transmission but transmitting to somebody else.”
But visitors should still make sure they’re in good health.
“On the other hand if you’re going to visit your relative, your grandparents, you certainly should not be sick, you should not have any symptoms of covid or any type of infection when you’re going there or have any recent exposure, so we also have to use our head,” said Vazquez.
The CDC and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services released the new guidelines on March 11th.
Dr. Vazquez breaks down when the city could return to a “new normal”