AUSTIN, Texas -- Nursing and living facilities across Texas have been hot spots for COVID-19. Because of it, visiting loved ones there has been off limits.
A bipartisan group of state lawmakers is urging the state's health agency to relax some of those rules. They're asking for limited visitations as long as family members follow strict protocols and provide a negative COVID-19 test result.
Kelle Wood Rich is going even further by asking that state leaders treat group homes for people with disabilities separate from nursing homes.
“These healthy young adults or children that are not otherwise immunocompromised need to be able to access their environment and their families,” Rich, who founded the Central Texas Autism Center, said.
Rich says family members could follow the same guidelines as staff members who are allowed to come and go.
A spokesperson for the Texas Health and Human Services Commission released the following statement on the request for limited visitation:
“We understand current policies are difficult for many family members and their loved ones during this pandemic. Restrictions remain in place to fight the spread of COVID-19 and protect the health, safety and security of residents and the staff who care for them. We encourage facilities to use alternative means of communication and to submit applications to HHSC to receive up to $3,000 in federal funding per facility to purchase tablets, webcams, and headphones to connect residents with their loved ones. We are also closely monitoring long-term care facilities throughout the state and working to ensure they have up-to-date, clear information on addressing infectious diseases in their facilities. We will continue adapting our policies and procedures as conditions permit.”