TUCSON, Ariz. — Arizona is preparing to reopen nursing homes to visitors who test negative for COVID-19, according to the AARP.
Nursing homes have been closed to visitors since the beginning of the pandemic in March. Many Arizonans have found other means to communicate with loved ones like window-visits, video calls and letters.
Governor Doug Ducey's task force on long-term care is waiting on Homeland Security to approve the new recommendations, which will limit visits to 15 minutes. Visitors will also have to let the facility know they're coming before they arrive.
Arizona AARP Director Dana Kennedy says families are ready to reunite.
"They are going to have to wear a mask," she said. "If they refuse to wear a mask, the facility can refuse a visit. They will need to wash their hands before entering the room and socially distance -- keep at least 6 feet away. We know it's not perfect, but it's a step in the right direction. We're meeting again as a task force in three weeks to work out kinks that families are experiencing."
Kennedy says they're hoping to get approval by Friday, which would allow families to visit their loved ones by next week.
The AARP is also asking families to share their joy by posting photos of visits to social media.