SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Now that the coronavirus is here in KELOLAND, a lot of people and businesses are taking extra precautions.
That includes nursing homes and assisted living centers. Wednesday, several of them closed their doors to visitors to reduce the risk of the virus entering their facilities.
Due to the coronavirus outbreak, the Good Samaritan Society, which is part of Sanford Health, is restricting visitation at all of its 270 long term care facilities across the country, including Sioux Falls.
“That was probably the most significant thing we’ve done up til this point, because nobody wants to do that, you have family members who want to go visit their parents, they want to visit loved ones, and I totally understand it,” President and CEO of Good Samaritan Society Randy Bury said.
Bury met with Vice-President Mike Pence last week in Washington, DC about stopping the spread of the virus. He says the visitation ban, which comes at the suggestion of the American Health Care Association, will help.
“With this virus and the impact and the severity it has on the elderly population and the number of fatalities we’ve seen primarily in the state of Washington it’s just not something you can afford to mess around with in long term care,” Bury said.
Prince of Peace at Avera is also closing its doors to visitors, plus it’s recommending its residents not leave the facility unless it’s for a medical appointment.
Both facilities are asking family members to use virtual technology if they need to talk with a loved one.
“iPhones, iPads that type of thing, so you can still see them and connect with them but certainly looking at instituting and limiting the amount of visitors you know maybe they can select one member per family to help carry that message forward,” Avera Health’s Chief Medical and Innovation Officer Dr. David Erickson said.
Up to this point, there are no known cases of the virus at either facility and they’d like to keep it that way.
Bury says there’ll be some exceptions, but for the most part, the ban applies to all visitors until further notice.
They’re also reminding staff, contractors and volunteers to stay home if they are sick.