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Kansas City-area long-term care facilities prepare to scale back visitation if needed

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Posted at 5:51 PM, Jul 23, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-23 18:51:16-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo.  — As COVID-19 cases increase in the Kansas City metro, long-term care facilities are ramping up efforts to keep residents and their families safe.

Christine Wilson, director of operations at Reach LTC, said the company is taking a pro-active approach to protecting residents from the COVID-19 delta variant.

"I feel like last year when COVID hit it was more of a reaction, and this time around we have been watching the cases, we’ve been in close contact with the hospitals all over the state and watching these numbers," Wilson said.

Unfortunately, Wilson said some facilities – Reach LTC operates 15 sites across the metro – have begun to scale back visitation. Each facility's visitation restrictions depend on case numbers in the county and resident vaccination rates.

With more breakthrough cases in the metro, Wilson said she anticipates stricter guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"We are constantly monitoring those guidelines as well, but I would not be a bit surprised if it doesn’t go back to just pretty much no visitation, which is terrible," Wilson said. "It’s a nightmare. It’s not anything that we want to do."

Restricted visitation means facilities will have to get creative, using Zoom, Facetime and constructed barriers like in 2020.

Right now, Wilson said, facilities are taking advantage of outdoor visitation and performing strict screening on visitors and staff.

"I would just hope that the families and friends that want to come visit just be patient with us as we are trying to follow the guidelines to keep it from spreading because I know it’s devastating for them," Wilson said.