TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - After months in isolation, family and friends with loved ones in nursing homes have a date that they can be reunited.
Ohio Governor Mike DeWine announcing that starting on July 20, nursing homes can allow in-person visitation.
Under the order, all visits would need to take place outside. Facilities all across the state have been forced to get creative, offering ways for residents to stay connected to family. From video chats to window greetings, even drive-by birthday parades, you name it, it's been done.
Tami Rockwell hasn't given her mother a hug since January.
The facility where her mother lives is The Lakes of Monclova. The long-term care center had a major outbreak of COVID-19 cases. In total, there are 107 cases including both residents and employees and 34 residents living at the facility died from COVID-19.
Today, the situation has improved.According to data from Trilogy Health Services, that operates The Lakes of Monclova, there are currently 3 employees that have tested positive COVID-19 and zero residents are sick.
Despite the improvement, Rockwell says she is skeptical about allowing in-person visits and worries it could put everyone at risk, again.
The Lakes of Monclova falls under a long-term care facility, which the Governor allowed to begin in-person outdoor visits back on June 8th.
Rockwell is calling for widespread and continuous testing for both residents and visitors in an effort to keep the vulnerable population safe.
Meanwhile, Governor DeWine says he will use the Ohio National Guard to help facilitate testing inside all of the nursing homes across the state before visitations can begin. Once a facility is cleared, it will be up to each place to determine when and how the visits take place.