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Nursing Homes Endure Amid COVID-19

WSKG_Nursing Home Facilitiies_03192020

CORNING, NY (WSKG) - To minimize potential spread of COVID-19, nursing homes in the region are asking visitors to stay away.

“NO VISITATION UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE” read the signs posted to the front doors of The Manor at Bethany Village in Horseheads. The restriction on visitors is in response to COVID-19 because elderly are most at-risk.

“I believe we all have to do our part and do what's in the best interest of not just yourself but our communities,” said Toni Johnston, Director of Nursing at Bethany Manor.

The visitation restrictions are in place until further notice. Vendors providing medical care and services such as hospice, palliative care and grief support are still able to enter buildings.

Health officials said phone calls and mobile video apps, like FaceTime and Skype, are the best methods to keep residents connected to friends and family. Michael Youmans, Chemung County Nursing Facility Administrator, said it reassured everyone that loved ones were being cared for because they could see them with their own eyes.

“We're looking out for people's mental well-being too, not just their physical well-being,” said Youmans.

Both Johnston and Youmans said staffing and supplies like gloves, goggles and face masks were adequate but Youmans expressed concern should anything change.

“What we need is probably what every other health care facility in the country needs, and that is more supplies, more PPE and ideally more staff to be on standby in the event that we face a situation where staff cannot come to work," Youmans explained.

Access to adequate test kit supplies and the number of unknown carriers of COVID-19 in the area remained a concern from health officials.

“People who are doing self-quarantine or don't have access to these tests, they might be more likely to go out and about [and] not know that they have it versus staying home and, you know, protecting their loved ones as well as other people in the community,” explained Johnston.

Each nursing facility in the county is expected to submit a health report of its residents to the state everyday in order to keep the state aware of COVID-19 case counts.