Carthage nursing home opens to visitors for first time in a year

WWNY Carthage nursing home opens to visitors for first time in a year

CARTHAGE, N.Y. (WWNY) - With new state guidance in place, families are getting the opportunity to see their loved ones in nursing homes.

The Carthage Center for Rehabilitation and Nursing has been closed to the public since last March.

On Tuesday, that changed.

“It’s heaven to be able to see her, absolutely heaven. I mean, I have seen her through the window. I’ve come and tried to talk to her through the window, but I’m so excited,” said Tammy Reil.

Reil and her husband were the first to enter the building in almost a year to visit Tammy’s mother, Ethel Kinney.

Tammy says conversations about the pandemic with her mother have been the toughest over the past year.

“She always asks because she does forget about the pandemic and doesn’t know why, you know ‚I can’t come in, but I do Skype with her and she says, ‘At least it’s good to see you.’ You know, that type of thing, but right now being able to see her and be this close to her is very exciting,” she said.

This visit was able to happen because of new state guidance.

Allowing visitors in is based on the county’s positivity rate. If the rate is above 5 percent, families will need to show a negative COVID-19 test.

If the positivity rate is below 5 percent, it’s still strongly recommended a test be done before you go in. At Carthage, they can help with that.

“If you are under the 5 percent, you don’t have to do the testing. We have chosen to do rapid testing so we provide that here free of charge,” said Danielle Coles, recreation director.

On top of the new testing protocols, the facility will also need to go 14 consecutive days without a positive COVID-19 case in both residents and employees to allow families inside the building.

Families at Carthage Center are also being limited to 2 per resident, giving about 25 people per day a chance to visit in person.

“I’m so happy that we are finally able to allow this for families because it has been a very, very long time coming,” said Coles.

Coles says if you are looking to visit a resident, call to set up an appointment - a simple step that will allow families separated by a pandemic a chance to be reunited.

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