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Residential care facilities, residents excited for eased restrictions on indoor visitation

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services issued an order early Wednesday, allowing...
The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services issued an order early Wednesday, allowing for indoor visitation at residential care facilities state wide.(WJRT)
Published: Oct. 21, 2020 at 5:58 PM EDT
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FENTON, Mich. (WJRT) - The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services issued an order early Wednesday, allowing for indoor visitation at residential care facilities state wide.

It’s something that hasn’t happened in about 6 months, since the coronavirus pandemic began.

“I’m going to make some phone calls,” said Kate Deschner, a resident at Vicinia Gardens in Fenton.

Up until Wednesday -- visitations were only held once a week and were done outdoors.

“It’s so nice, especially with the holidays coming up. We were just talking yesterday about our holiday party and how we were going to do that and if we were going to do that, so it will mean a lot,” said Catrina Kraus, Vicinia Gardens resident director.

Under the new order, indoor visitation will be allowed based on the coronavirus risk level of a county. Risk levels between A and D on the MI Safe Start map are allowed to have indoor visits. An E risk level will not allow for indoor visits.

“I don’t know as far as like touching and hugging, but I know the residents have missed that, and sometimes don’t understand why they sit 6 feet a part, but can’t get any closer,” Kraus said.

Visitors – under the new order will be required to wear a mask and maintain social distancing and visits must be approved in advance by the facility.

“We’ve done everything we can to make them feel happy, healthy and content inside. We’ve been doing our screenings, which we’ll continue to do even when we open up,” Kraus added.

As for Kate – she’s got some phone calls to make – and is certainly excited to now see her loved ones inside the place she calls home.

“They’re so curious, and I can’t really explain it all to them, but when they get inside, I think they’ll feel more comfortable if they ever have to go to a facility like this too," Deschner said.

Local health departments can impose additional visitor restrictions, if there is a need to.

Facilities do have the right to not let visitors in if they do not wear a mask or follow specific guidelines.

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