Local assisted living facility begins loosening restrictions, allowing visitors inside

Published: Mar. 23, 2021 at 7:58 AM CDT
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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - As we see daily COVID-19 case numbers continue to drop and more vaccines going around, assisted living facilities are beginning to slowly get back to normal.

Huntsville Health and Rehabilitation is slowly loosening restrictions and allowing visitors back inside.

William Tyson is the administrator, he said it’s been more than 100 days since there has been a positive case of COVID-19 inside Huntsville Health and Rehab.

Tyson said they have had to meet certain standards to continue to loosen some restrictions.

The first was to have at least 70% of residents completely vaccinated. Tyson said they recently passed that benchmark and are working toward getting everyone completely vaccinated. Right now they’re right around 90% of residents with at least one shot and have more vaccination clinics scheduled.

Another standard is Madison County has to be below 10% positivity in the community. According to the Alabama Department of Public Health, Madison County dropped below 10% near the beginning of March.

When that happened, Tyson was able to reopen visitation inside the facility.

“We understand that family visitation and communication with the residents also affects the health of the residents,” he said. “Sometimes the residents may feel the family has forgotten about them but when the family comes in they just smile, they’re all smiles.”

Tyson said visitation is scheduled in a few different areas inside and outside the facility in different time blocks.

For many in Huntsville Health and Rehab it’s been a year of only seeing family members on the other side of a window, through a computer or just hearing a voice over the phone.

Shelia Ross has lived at Huntsville Health and Rehab for almost three years. She said she misses her freedom.

“I’ll be glad when it’s all over because I’m used to going out, staying gone all day and then coming back,” said Shelia Ross.

She’s also looking forward to being close to family again.

“I want to see my sister because she usually comes to the window, but it’s not like her coming in, giving me a hug, telling me she loves me,” Ross said.

Same goes for Kimberly Fluker, another three year resident of the facility. She said she got COVID-19 back in November and feels fortunate she was able to survive.

“It had me sick,” Fluker said. “Real, real sick.”

Now, she’s fully vaccinated for the virus and said she did it for herself and her family.

“I have a five year old granddaughter and I did it for her,” Fluker said.

Anna Rickett said she’s looking forward to when all restrictions are lifted and she can see her whole family at once. Rickett said they live far away and plan to make a long drive to Huntsville when they can all be with her.

“They’re not going to come all the way down here for looking through a window,” she said.

Rickett sad she’s excited to see how much her grandsons have grown since she saw them last.

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