LaBelle woman worries for mother in nursing home during coronavirus spread

Reporter: Justin Kase Writer: Jack Lowenstein
Published: Updated:
Outside of nursing home in LaBelle. Credit: WINK News.

Many of the concern surrounding the coronavirus spread centers around nursing homes. Near Seattle, public health officials say at least 10 long-term care facilities have reported cases. Some facilities are changing their rules around visiting hours to make sure everyone stays safe, but families are worried.

We visited Mary Cross in LaBelle Wednesday, whose 89-year-old mother is staying at a care facility in the city. And because of a call from caregivers last night, Cross wasn’t sure if she’d be restricted from visiting her own mother.

However, with documented deaths in the United States of people at nursing homes and assisted living facilities, Cross says she understands why these rules are necessary.

With at least 20 people killed by the coronavirus at one Washington state nursing home, Gov. Ron DeSantis is making sure that doesn’t happen here.

“I’ve directed director Moskowitz, as the state coordinating officer, to temporarily prohibit visitation to nursing homes, assisted living facilities, adult family care homes,” DeSantis said during a live public announcement.

Prohibited people include those who’ve tested positive for COVID-19, have been around infected people, those showing symptoms, those who’ve traveled internationally or gone on cruises and people in areas with community spread.

“It feels like she’s on an involuntary quarantine,” Cross said.

Cross’s mother is currently rehabbing from a broken neck and leg at a facility.

“I get it that you want to increase your screening and be more diligent about who’s coming and going,” Cross said.

But, for Cross, she’s taken an unpaid leave from work to be here.

“My only job is to work to get my mother better to get her home,” Cross said.

A screening form all visitors must now fill out has man of the questions mirroring the governor’s new policy.

“This just is frustrating to families, and it could even cause a panic,” Cross said.

Cross did get in to see her mom Wednesday night. But it could get harder soon.

President Donald Trump recommended nursing homes suspend all medical unnecessary visits in an announcement to the American people.

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