OPELIKA, Ala. (WSFA) - Nursing homes were some of the first and hardest hit when the COVID-19 pandemic started, prompting facilities to close their doors to visitors.
As the number of cases has dropped in Alabama, however, one east Alabama facility is allowing families to visit their loved ones again after months away.
Arbor Springs Health and Rehab Center, located in Opelika, said it will start allowing families to visit loved ones at the facility’s outdoor courtyard. However, the nursing home will continue to take steps to stop the spread of COVID-19.
The center said residents and their families will have to wear masks and social distancing will be required. Arbor Springs also said it will schedule appointments individually in order to protect residents, employees and visitors.
“The safety of our residents remains our top priority, and their safety is closely linked to how much COVID is spreading in the community around us,” said Annie Swanson, administrator of Arbor Springs. “If the risk level increases, we will have to suspend courtyard visits and return to virtual or window visits only.”
Swanson said the separation has been hard residents and families, adding “our goal is always to tend to the emotional as well as physical needs of our residents. So to the extent we can safely allow these visits, we want to make that possible.”
The nursing home was hit hard by COVID-19 in late March and nursing homes across the state were ordered to temporarily stop visitations due to the pandemic.
Arbor Springs said it will continue to monitor public health data for Lee County, where it’s located, and will track community risk levels to determine whether to continue courtyard visits from week to week.