CHICAGO (CBS) — Many nursing home residents who have been vaccinated at other facilities, saw it as the light at the end of the tunnel, after a year of loneliness.
But CBS 2 Investigator Megan Hickey has learned, that’s simply not the case.READ MORE: MISSING: Kianna Smith, 19, Last Seen April 6
Even at facilities where 100% of the residents are fully vaccinated, it’s unclear exactly when they’ll be able to return to group dinners and other activities that used to keep to keep the loneliness at bay.
The CDC issued its long awaited guidance this week. Fully vaccinated people can visit with other fully vaccinated people in small gatherings, indoors, without wearing masks or physical distancing.
“Remember here we are talking about private settings where everyone is vaccinated,” Doctor Rochelle Walensky, Director, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
That’s fantastic news for Betsy Hedberg. Because her father is in a long-term care facility.
“And it’s like’ yay dad got vaccinated.’ Thank god. We’re so lucky that he survived the year.”
Her 85-year-old father has been riding out the last year of the pandemic in isolation away from his friends at his Evanston long-term care facility and most family visits.
“I’ve been told that 100% of the people in his community in the in the smaller community where he lives has been vaccinated,” Hedberg said.READ MORE: Electrical Fire At O'Hare International Airport Closes Pedestrian Tunnel
But so far, her fully vaccinated dad is still in isolation. So why can fully vaccinated people socialize without masks, but many long-term care residents can’t play bingo together with one?
His facility said it’s still waiting for updated guidance from the Illinois Department of Public Health, but hope things will change soon.
IDPH said the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services just released updated guidance for visitation at nursing homes. But it’s still reviewing that information.
And it doesn’t touch on socializing within the community.
Nursing home managers said the trouble is that while most or all residents may have been vaccinated, there still may be others who’ve yet to receive the shot, like vendors, suppliers or some staff.
“We just want some clarity,” Hedberg said. “We want some answers, and we want some consistency.”
The family CBS 2 spoke to asked not to name the long term care facility because they don’t believe the facility is to blame. The policies are still the norm across the state.
Illinois Health Care Association, which advocates for long-term care facilities, said it is meeting with IDPH to ask about updated guidelines. Click here to see the latest guidelines.MORE NEWS: COVID-19 Update: Indiana Reports 1,263 New Cases, 5 Additional Deaths