NC to allow indoor visits at nursing homes, loved ones raise concerns

State News

WAKE FOREST, N.C. (WNCN) — North Carolina will begin allowing indoor visits at nursing homes.

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services said Monday the decision was based on the numbers – progress in testing, infection control and the slowing spread of the virus.  

For six months people in nursing homes have had very little contact with the outside world. For some, there have been window visits and more recently outdoor visits.

“I still don’t think they should be, no one should be, coming inside now,” James Lawrence said.

Lawrence has friends who live in nursing homes and said it’s just not safe to have visitors. 

“You’ve got so many people that have different kind of sickness, different kinds — and you don’t want to erupt nothing,” Lawrence explained. 

According to the latest data from the state, nine nursing homes in Wake County have outbreaks of COVID-19. An outbreak is defined as two or more confirmed cases.

There are eight outbreaks at facilities in Durham County as well as eight in Cumberland County. 

There are requirements for indoor visitation. Nursing homes can have no COVID-19 cases in the last 14 days and the county they’re in must have a percent positive testing rate below 10.

The state said the rules reflected guidance from the Centers of Medicare and Medicaid Services. 

“He was hospitalized with a heart condition prior so we didn’t really have a choice,” Janine Costello said.

Costello explained why her uncle went into a nursing home. She, too, questions the state’s decision. 

“The residents themselves ought to be polled as well to see how they feel about it,” Costello said.

CBS 17 reached out to a couple of nursing homes to find out how this might be implemented. They said they need to review the policy and their own protocols and that would take time.

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