LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — Fewer places continue to be impacted by the pandemic than long-term care facilities.
LEX 18 found out firsthand this week that even after 18 months and a vaccine, visitation plans can still change on a dime.
Through windows and virtual sessions, families tried to stay connected throughout 2020 as visitation restrictions at long-term care facilities were enforced to slow the spread of COVID-19.
Throughout the pandemic, we have done several stories featuring Sayre Christian Village.
"That was just devastating for me to not be able to walk through these doors to visit my wife," said Gene Bailey, whose wife Nancy is a resident at Sayre Christian Village.
We first introduced you to Gene in 2019, not long after his wife of more than 50 years moved into the facility.
"Since she's got dementia, this is ... when I couldn't take care of her, this is where I wanted her to be because I knew she'd be taken care of," said Bailey.
Through holidays and birthdays, a glass pane separated Gene and Nancy. But the vaccine's arrival eventually opened the doors back up at long-term care facilities in early 2021.
Last week, our Conroy Delouche interviewed Gene as he was preparing to visit his wife for the first time of the day. LEX 18 spoke to the CEO of Sayre Christian Village, Karen Venis.
"We actually are at a pretty good spot," said Venis last Tuesday. "We are just continuing to be very vigilant because we know that if this virus gets in a facility such as ours, it's not fun."
In the following days, there was an outbreak among some staff members at the Healthcare Center. Then, a resident tested positive.
"In this particular instance, we had to open up another (COVID) unit, staff that unit," said Venis this morning.
Massive testing followed, and that did lead to encouraging news. The resident who initially tested positive followed with two subsequent negative tests, and no others so far have tested positive.
Despite this development, the affected buildings are mostly closed to visits. As long as there are no additional positive tests, October 1, the doors will reopen.
"So that's why it's so important that people get their vaccine and do their part," said Venis.
Because he's considered a compassionate caregiver, Gene can continue to visit his wife, although he has to schedule a time window in advance for now. In the hours he can't see Nancy, Gene clutches onto the pictures in his phone, hope, and prayer.
"I just hope and pray that people will put politics aside and get your shots, wear your masks, do everything you possibly can to keep yourself and everybody else in this facility working safe as possible," said Bailey.