Residents at a care and rehabilitation facility in Greeley, Colorado staged a protest last week against state restrictions on the coronavirus.
About 20 residents, many in wheelchairs, gathered outside Fairacres Manor on Thursday during the approximately two-hour demonstration. Some had signs, including one that said, “We want families back.”
“They want to be able to hug their grandchildren, they want to be able to hold the hands of their loved ones,” said Ben Gonzales, an assistant administrator at the facility, according to KCNC-TV of Denver.
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Gonzales noted that residents are able to see visitors, but they must maintain proper social distance and cannot have any physical contact.
Resident Prime Minister Sharon Peterson, 75, worked with Josie Sanchez, 76, in organizing the event.
“We want to see our families,”
Staff members were also present during the protest, wearing masks and eye protection.
“We want them [residents] knowing their voice matters, ”Gonzales added.
Fairacres, like many nursing homes in the United States, was the site of a COVID-19 outbreak during the early stages of the pandemic.
From late March through mid-May, 16 residents were confirmed positive for COVID-19 while two dozen residents were considered probable cases, the Tribune reported. At least 46 staff members tested positive or probable for the virus.
In addition to a large number of cases, the outbreak has seen at least eight laboratory-confirmed coronavirus deaths among residents, as well as five unconfirmed deaths from the disease, according to reports.
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The last known coronavirus case among staff or residents was in April. Gonzales said residents and staff sent letters in August to the State Department of Public Health and the Environment and Governor Jared Polis requesting that physical contact be allowed.
“We fully understand how difficult it has been for the residents of residential care facilities and their families. Social interaction is essential for physical and mental health, so we have provided a guide to residential care facilities that enable that interaction while keeping residents safe from COVID-19, ”Polis said in a statement Friday, according to the KCNC.
“Previously restrictions were in place, but residents can now visit loved ones both indoors and outdoors. In addition, we are doing everything we can to help long-term care facilities mitigate and prevent the spread of COVID. -19 directly working structures on good infection control practices that have been shown to slow the spread of COVID-19, “he continued.
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Colorado saw 967 new coronavirus cases on Monday, the highest number of new cases reported in a day since mid-April, according to the state’s Department of Public Health and Environment. There were also 290 hospitalizations on Tuesday, the highest figure seen since May.
Fox News’ Caitlin McFall contributed to this report