WACO, TX – Even with the COVID-19 vaccine expected to make its way to Central Texas in the coming weeks, many are wondering how social distancing guidelines will continue in nursing homes this holiday season.
No official date has been given for the vaccine to be delivered to long term care facilities.
After learning his wife contracted COVID-19 and was unable to see her for six months, Warren Mass says he’s simply grateful to see his wife alive and in person again.
“It’s definitely a blessing,” he said.
“Considering her age and history of serious respiratory illness and pneumonia a year ago, her lungs, theoretically, should’ve been very vulnerable.”
His wife, Martha, is battling dementia at Grandbury Care Center. Even after she recovered from the virus, visiting became a difficult process with only two visits a week and frequent COVID tests for himself.
“They issue us a mask when we visit that I have to leave on the entire time,” he said.
“They usually bring her out to the dining hall where everybody is spaced out and we can meet there.”
Mass says because the isolation felt unacceptable to him and countless others, he’s joined a group pushing for state legislation that would make it impossible for such a separation to happen in the future.
“Initially, the focus was to get in,” he said.
“Now, we have a whole list of other proposals regarding what shouldn’t be allowed and what should be allowed as far as regulating nursing homes….and not giving so much discretion to just cut off visitation citing an emergency.”
Mass says he considers himself lucky since thousands of others lost loved ones to the virus.
“Every day, people post messages on Facebook saying ‘Oh, we said goodbye to mom or dad, today.’ So, I’m definitely blessed that I didn’t have to go through that.”
Mass says the vaccines are expected to arrive later this month, but could be delayed.