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New guidelines for nursing home residents and visitors

Updated: Apr. 30, 2021 at 10:57 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Alabama nursing home residents were among the first groups to qualify for the Covid-19 vaccine back in December. Since then, officials said positive cases have dropped by almost 98.8 percent.

Officials with the Alabama Nursing Home Association said back in December, there were 900 new Covid cases in one week in nursing homes across the state. Now, they are only seeing five to ten new cases a week.

Alabama Nursing Home Association spokesperson John Matson said the low cases are coming at a great time, as the CDC is easing up on restrictions.

Now, fully vaccinated visitors only have to wear a mask while walking inside to meet their fully vaccinated loved ones. Once they get there, they can go mask free, touch, hug and sit close to each other.

Restrictions are also relaxed now for residents. They can eat dinner at the same table with other fully vaccinated residents without masks and social distancing.

Matson said while window and facetime visits helped get residents through, these new guidelines will help improve their overall wellbeing after a lonely year.

“Nothing takes the place of being able to sit down, hold someone’s hand, look them in the eye, give them a hug, and that’s why we are so thankful these restrictions have been lifted,” Matson said.

Matson said the guidelines also make it easier for fully vaccinated nursing home employees. They no longer have to be tested multiple times a week for COVID-19 unless there is an outbreak.

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