Valley Hi Nursing Home in Woodstock is preparing to allow for limited indoor visitation in the next few weeks, something that hasn't been available since early March when most nursing homes across the state closed their doors to visitors in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The county-run long-term care facility will continue following the other lockdown and enhanced infection control procedures it instituted at the start of the pandemic, administrator Thomas Annarella said in a news release.
To date, no Valley Hi residents have tested positive for COVID-19, Annarella said in an email. The long-term care facility has had a few staff members.
"We have strict protocols in place to address any potential indirect or direct exposure," he said. "This allows us to react quickly when an employee has been exposed or if they were to test positive during our testing."
All Valley Hi staff and residents were tested in late July and early August, Annarella said. Since then, the facility has transitioned to weekly testing of staff only, which will continue until the county’s positivity rate stays below 5% for 14 days. At that time the testing will move to monthly.
“The Valley Hi family continues to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic in a proactive and positive manner. We’ve been able to take the ever-changing state and federal guidelines and adapt them to our own unique, resident-centered experience,” Annarella said in the release. “It’s our hope that indoor visitation is yet another step toward an eventual return to normalcy.”
Valley Hi began allowing outdoor visits in July, but with temperatures beginning to fall, that will become impractical, according to the release. The tentative plan will allow for indoor visitation in the common areas and keep families off of the nursing units.
Annarella warned that the plan is tentative and could change if local infection rates surge.
While McHenry County’s rates have steadily decreased over the past few weeks, Illinois is imposing new restrictions in Region 1, which includes neighboring Boone and DeKalb counties, because of an increased positivity rate.
“We are working as hard as we can to facilitate face-to-face visits once we get into the cold-weather months, but the health and safety of our Valley Hi family is our top priority,” Annarella said.