Mitchell-Hollingsworth Nursing & Rehab Center still waiting to begin indoor visitations

FLORENCE, Ala. (WAFF) - It’s been two weeks since Governor Ivey announced in-person visitations could resume at nursing homes, as long as certain guidelines are followed.

Since then, facilities across the state have been working to make those visits possible.

“When it was first announced by Governor Ivey that nursing homes could allow visitations, there were a multitude of restrictions that went along with that,” said Brian Scheri, administrator of Mitchell-Hollingsworth Nursing & Rehab Center in Florence.

But Scheri was understanding of those guidelines and has followed them precisely.

“I have been in this line of work for 24 years and I never could have dreamt something like this," Scheri said. "It’s the stuff you see in movies. So as long as it takes we are going to follow every guidance that is given to us.”

According to Scheri, a blanket rule applies to all facilities: If there is a 10 percent or higher covid positivity rate in the county where the facility is located, then visitations can’t happen.

In addition, if anyone in the home tests positive, visitations must be put on hold for 14 days.

Scheri says the same week of Ivey’s announcement, an employee at Mitchell-Hollingsworth tested positive. At that point, the facility started “outbreak testing," which means all residents and employees are tested weekly.

If no positive cases come up between now and Saturday, Mitchell-Hollingsworth will open for business.

“Once we are free to go, we will be having visitations in our large activity room,” Scheri said. “There is a separate entrance into that room: So one way in, one way out… And all of the family members will be screened. Temperature taken, asked a list of questions, the same as my employees have had to do every single day since this started.”

All visitors also will need a negative covid test taken within the 72 hours prior to visiting. Or, they can be tested at the facility with a rapid testing machine.

Masks must be worn and social distancing between visitors and residents will be enforced.

“I know it seems extreme but we have come so far and overall we have done well,” Scheri said.

Scheri says visits will be scheduled on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays and each resident is limited to two guests.

Copyright 2020 WAFF. All rights reserved.