About 70% of Alabama nursing homes have COVID-19 case

About 70% of Alabama nursing homes have COVID-19 case

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - Some states allow visitors in nursing homes, but a spokesperson for the Alabama Nursing Home Association said they don’t expect that to happen anytime soon in the state.

John Matson with the Alabama Nursing Home Association said 166 nursing home across 64 counties have either a resident or employee with the virus. This is out of 231 nursing homes since mid-March. Matson said some of those nursing homes have recovered cases, but he does not know how many.

Matson said nursing homes would need to follow federal guidelines before allowing visitors.

“There’s a lot of things that have to take place before nursing homes can reopen visitation,” he said. “So we still think that’s a little ways down the road.”

The federal guidelines nursing homes should follow:

  • Watching community transmission: Looking for a decline in new cases, deaths and hospitalizations
  • No new cases of COVID-19 in nursing homes
  • Adequate staffing: No staffing shortages
  • Adequate testing: A nursing home should be able to have enough tests for all of the residents and staff
  • Adequate Personal Protective Equipment
  • Local hospital capacity: A hospital can receive transfers from nursing homes

The state’s Safer At Home order expires July 3. The current order does not allow for nursing home visits unless in end-of-life cases.

Matson said they are slowly preparing for in-person visits. He said it would look different.

“So, you won’t be able to reach out and hug your loved one, you’re gonna have to maintain at least a six-foot distance from each other and you’ll have to wear a face mask during those visits,” he said.

Copyright 2020 WSFA 12 News. All rights reserved.