Alabama Nursing Home Association says facilities doing OK with COVID vaccinations; eyeing surge

ANHA says no change to visitation policies right now.

Posted: Aug 5, 2021 12:10 PM

The surge of COVID cases involving the Delta variant has caused some Alabama hospitals to change their visitation policies, and we wanted to see if rules for nursing home visits are impacted as well.

We spoke with the Alabama Nursing Home Association.

They assure us you can still visit your loved ones at nursing homes as long as you wear your mask, get your temperature checked beforehand and answer a quick questionnaire.

The Alabama Nursing Home Association told us even though they're doing OK now, the Delta variant is causing them some concern.

"When there's an outbreak in the local community, usually there will be an outbreak in that community's nursing home within one to three weeks later," said John Matson, director of communications with the Alabama Nursing Home Association.

He told WAAY-TV, right now, visitation rights can remain in-person but the Delta variant is something they're watching closely due to how easily transmissible it is.

Indoors, you have to wear a mask, answer a COVID questionnaire and get your temperature checked before going to see your family or friend.

"The nursing home is trying to do everything in its power to minimize the spread of COVID-19. We want our doors open and we want visits to happen and we'll continue to work towards that goal until covid is fully eradicated," said Matson.

As far as vaccinations go inside Alabama's nursing homes, right now we're ahead of all four of our neighboring states.

80% of residents are fully vaccinated, putting us ahead of 17 other states, and 50% of employees and staff are fully vaccinated, putting Alabama ahead of 11 states.

Matson told us he is thankful a large percentage of our elderly community is vaccinated, since they were the biggest threat over the past year.

"Certainly, we'd like to be number 1, we'd like to have 100% of both residents and staff vaccinated, but we think we'll eventually get there as long as we continue to make this forward progress," he said.

Matson also told us they will not enforce a vaccine requirement to staff or residents but will continue to educate the importance of the vaccine and masking to keep everyone safe.

Lastly, Matson told us they haven't had any widespread outbreaks at their facilities so far, but if someone gets sick, they're able to isolate entire hallways and utilize video visitation until it's safe again.

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