'We're just not there': Amid coronavirus concerns, Lexington nursing home delays visits

Posted at 7:55 AM, Jul 21, 2020

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — Although nursing homes in Kentucky have been able to resume visitations since July 15, a facility in Lexington is keeping its doors shut to visitors until at least next month.

"Out of an abundance of caution," said Karen Venis, CEO of Sayre Christian Village. "We're just not there."

Explaining her decision, Venis pointed to the uptick in cases in the state and the fact that an employee has recently tested positive for COVID-19. The state's guidance for resuming visits stipulates that a facility cannot open for visits if someone who has tested positive has been in the building within the past 28 days.

"The virus does not discriminate," Venis said. "But when it gets into our environment, it does spread like wildfire. And it is war."

Fortunately, only five residents have contracted the virus. All five were asymptomatic, and they have since recovered.

Venis told LEX 18 that many families support the decision to be cautious and wait to open until the first week of August.

"We just have to wait until it's deemed safe to visit," said Lisa Steele, whose mother lives in Sayre Christian Village.

Steele said her mother, Martha, 91, is in the late stages of Alzheimer's, which she considers a silver lining during the pandemic.

"She's not anxious about this because she's not aware," Steele said. "So, I know she's fine."

"Maybe I'm not fine," Steele said, laughing.

But behind the laughter is raw pain. Steele has not been able to hold her mother's hand since March 15.

"So you think, 'Hang on, hang on,'" Steele said. "I want to get in there so I can kiss her forehead or hold her hand. It's been hard."

Monday marked the eighth round of testing inside the facility. Steele hopes the residents continue to be spared of the virus so that by August, she can finally spend time alongside her mother.