Care Centers, assisted living facilities endure a year without visitors

The one-year anniversary of declaration of a pandemic is a good time for us to take stock of where we are.  This week we examine how COVID -19 has affected medical care. This story is part of a series looking back and forward after a year of COVID.

by Marianne Gasaway

One year ago, we started what we just knew would last only a couple of weeks, maybe a month. A year later, we’re still following COVID-19 safety protocols to one degree or another.

And we will likely continue to do just that.

“I think tele-medicine is here to stay.  And several of the practices we put in place, from how we schedule appointments to screenings, will continue for safety and convenience of the patient,” said Dr. John Brady, owner/founder of WayPoint Medical in Clear Lake.   

Precautionary measures, such as social distancing and wearing masks, have become generally accepted and have resulted in improving COVID-19 numbers in North Iowa.  So much so, that most nursing homes and assisted living facilities in the area are now allowing visitors.

“Opening Oakwood is what we have waited for since we locked our doors a year ago on March 12,” said Sheri Weaver-Isvik, care center administrator.  “Last week we put into place a number of new opportunities that follow CDC and IDPH guidelines,  

as well as direction from our owner, ABCM Corporation.  These guidelines give our residents and their families opportunities to actually be physically together again, and everyone at Oakwood— both residents and our team, are extremely excited about this progress!”

Terri Casselman, administrator at Apple Valley Assisted Living in Clear Lake, echoed those sentiments.

“It’s been incredibly challenging,” said Casselman.  “On March 1, after a year of no visitors— just window visits, we allowed families back in.   We now have scheduled, 

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