Surge in COVID-19 cases means family visits at assisted living facilities could be problematic

With a surge in the number of new COVID-19 cases, many families will not be able to see their loved ones for the holidays, including those in assisted living facilities.

Charlie Robinette has not been able to hug her 98-year-old mother since the COVID-19 pandemic began.

"I have had tears a few times," said Robinette.

Robinette's mother lives at Glencroft Assisted Living in Glendale, and Robinette sees her mother nowadays during her visits on the patio.

"I feel so bad, and she wants to hug me and talk to me, and it is frustrating for me because she doesn’t quite understand, and that makes it more difficult," said Robinette.

Many families are dealing with the same heartbreak across the country. Officials with AARP Arizona say with the rising number of COVID-19 cases, some assisted living facilities have restrictions in place.

"If there is a case in an assisted living facility or nursing facility, then many are closing down the facility to visitations," said Dana Marie Kennedy with AARP Arizona.

Kennedy says they don’t have any recommendations to suggest that families cannot continue to visit, but the holidays for many families will look different in 2020.

"We were looking at recommendations if a person wanted to leave a facility and meet with family, but we just heard back from [the Arizona Department of Health Services] that they are not going to recommend that anybody leave a facility to have holidays with their family, unfortunately," said Kennedy.

Meanwhile, Robinette is waiting for the day when she can hug her mother again.

"I hope this thing will go away," said Robinette.

AARP officials are asking people to reach out to a facility to learn about their protocols before they make an attempt to visit family.

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Symptoms for coronavirus COVID-19 include fever, coughing, and shortness of breath. These, of course, are similar to the common cold and flu. 

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RELATED: Is it the flu, a cold or COVID-19? Different viruses present similar symptoms

COVID-19 resources

CDC Website for COVID-19 (In Spanish/En Español)

AZDHS Website for COVID-19 (In Spanish/En Español)