Nursing homes see COVID cases, asking visitors to use caution

Published: Jan. 11, 2022 at 5:19 PM EST
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WATERTOWN, New York (WWNY) - 20 nursing home residents at Samaritan Keep Home have tested positive for COVID-19.

At Lewis County Residential Healthcare Facility, 13 are infected with the virus. Two of those people are in the hospital.

Amid the outbreaks, visitation is still open for families and loved ones, per a federal guideline. It helps when it comes to loneliness, but not when it comes to mitigating the spread of COVID-19.

“And all we’re asking is for our families to be cognizant. If you have symptoms, or you’re just feeling a little off, please don’t chance it,” said Leslie DiStefano, Spokesperson for Samaritan Medical Center.

Now, new guidelines from the state require visitors to show proof of a negative COVID test within 24 hours of their visit and wear a surgical mask as opposed to a cloth one.

Samaritan’s Summit Village received 750 tests and one case of surgical masks to provide visitors with.

And Samaritan Keep Home received more than 2,000 tests and one case of masks.

Meanwhile, Lewis County Residential Healthcare Facility were sent 900 testing kits and 1,000 masks from the state designated for visitors.

The new rules start Wednesday. Nursing homes though, are still waiting for state guidance on how to use the test kits they got.

“Basically then, just operationalizing how we’re going to implement testing them based on what the Department of Health expects based on what Governor Hochul has advised,” said Debra Wurz, a nursing home administrator.

In the meantime, Lewis County Residential Healthcare Facility is encouraging family and friends to postpone their visits.

“We are just recommending that they take a little break and let us get things under control. Let people get treated, let us figure out what the scope of our outbreak is, then they can come visit,” said Wurz.

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