Fully Vaccinated Nursing Home Residents Still Can't See Family In Illinois

With many nursing home residents fully vaccinated, their families thought this was the light at the end of a year of loneliness. The only problem is nothing has changed. CBS 2 Investigator Megan Hickey has been pushing for answers from the state which said it's still working on it.

Video Transcript

- Now to the fight against COVID-19, with many nursing home residents fully vaccinated, their families thought this was the light at the end of a year of loneliness. The problem is, nothing has changed. CBS2 Investigator Megan Hickey has been pushing for answers from the state. And Megan, the Illinois Department of Public Health tells you they're still working on it.

MEGAN HICKEY: Right, the federal government already updated their guidelines when it comes to fully vaccinated nursing home residents. But the state tells me they're still looking over those recommendations, and they had their own questions. Meanwhile, families tell me their loved ones can't wait much longer.

JUDITH DEMOS: I'll stand outside her window, and I'll call her on the phone. And I try to talk to her.

MEGAN HICKEY: This has been the norm for a year for Judith Demos and her soon to be 96-year-old mother.

JUDITH DEMOS: It's just such a sad situation.

MEGAN HICKEY: Even though both of them are fully vaccinated, her mom is in isolation due to a positive COVID test from a staff member at her long-term care facility. So for now, no visitors, no activities.

JUDITH DEMOS: I can't get in. But yet people who refused to be vaccinated, they, they're allowed to go in.

MEGAN HICKEY: She was told that not all staff have opted to get the vaccine. IDPH tells me there's no federal or state mandate for employees to receive it. And that as of this afternoon, they're still working on guidance that covers the rules for fully vaccinated individuals.

SHANNON DAVIS: Doesn't make any sense.

MEGAN HICKEY: Shannon Davis says it's taken too long. She's also watched as her mother has withered physically and mentally during her year in isolation. She thought vaccination would help turn that around, but her mother is also still in quarantine due to a positive staff test.

SHANNON DAVIS: Why are they in their bedrooms? They're all vaccinated. They should be able to come out in small groups.

MEGAN HICKEY: A consulting firm for her mother's nursing home tells me they're waiting on updated guidance from IDPH. And that change in guidance has been very difficult to operationalize quickly as they have federal, state, and local health departments all providing guidance and recommendations.

JUDITH DEMOS: We'll still going in, wear a mask, maintain a little distance. But you know, they've been in there for so long.

SHANNON DAVIS: The rules have to catch up with what's going on right now.

MEGAN HICKEY: Now if you're wondering, the state of Indiana also has not come up with updated guidelines for fully vaccinated residents. We will, of course, keep following up. Reporting downtown, Megan Hickey, CBS2 Investigators.

- Some long-term care facilities are able to allow indoor visitation based on whether or not the facility and surrounding community have met low COVID-19 metrics, and there is not an active outbreak.