Not everyone thrilled about relaxed COVID-19 guidance for nursing homes

HOUSTON – Some folks are pumping the brakes on new relaxed federal guidance for family and friends visiting nursing homes.

Those facilities are being encouraged to allow indoor visits at all times and for all residents. That is regardless of whether people have been vaccinated, except in a few circumstances.

“I think that it’s just too early,” said Angela Thompson, whose 73-year-old father Gerald is a resident at Nixon Assisted Living in north Houston.

Thompson believes this type of guidance should not come until the nation has reached “herd immunity,” where about 85% of the population has been vaccinated.

“I think that would be more comfortable for me,” she said. “To basically allow everyone to enter into the facility and see their family members. Or even take them with them.”

Medical experts say the relaxed guidance is a sign the pandemic’s spread is slowing significantly. But for the executive director of Nixon Assisted Living that is not slow enough.

Shay Tatum said since the onset of COVID-19 none of their 65 residents has contracted the virus and they want to keep it that way.

“Our community is so vulnerable,” she said.

Federal officials say the exceptions include when a resident has not been fully immunized against the virus and lives at a home in which fewer than 70% of fellow residents are fully vaccinated and when the nursing home is in a community with high rates of local infections.

Visitors are also discouraged from seeing residents who have COVID-19 or are in quarantine after having been exposed to the virus.

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