Families excited to visit loved ones in group homes

WWNY Families excited to visit loved ones in group homes

WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWNY) - Governor Andrew Cuomo announced Tuesday that group homes for people with developmental disabilities can open to visitors as soon as Friday. That brings joy to people like Amy Gladle.

“Very excited. Very happy. And so will all the other parents across the state," she said.

On Monday, Gladle told 7 News how much she misses her son, Robbie. He lives in a group home in Fowler. She hasn’t been able to visit him since March.

“We'll see what happens. But if I'm able … I'll be there Friday at 3 o'clock to see my son," she said.

Gladle even wrote a letter to Cuomo asking about reopening the homes. Not all group homes may open right on the dot. Cuomo said there are still steps to take.

“It is up to the discretion of the group home. They have to tell the state if they're allowing visitors. And again they have to follow state guidelines," said Cuomo.

Also, local providers say they will have to get their reopenings approved by a state oversight agency. They agree parents like Gladle caught the governor's ear.

“I think what drew this to the forefront is the demand from families who are really interested in reconnecting in a more formal way with their loved ones,” said Michelle Quinell-Gayle, The Arc of Jefferson-St. Lawrence community relations director.

None of the 220 people cared for in Arc Jefferson-St. Lawrence homes caught COVID-19.

Others were not so fortunate. At one time, almost half the cases in St. Lawrence County were in group homes.

So Cuomo's announcement was important in another way. It means that the pandemic is finally subsiding in some of those places that were among the hardest hit.

Cuomo's reopening announcement did not include nursing homes.

The state’s health commissioner said infection rates in nursing homes have dropped. But the risk is still to high to reopen them right now.

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