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Group protests, demands DeWine allow nursing home visitation

Posted at 10:25 PM, Jun 07, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-07 23:31:51-04

HAMILTON, Ohio — A group in Hamilton protested outside Berkeley Square Retirement Center Sunday afternoon, demanding Gov. Mike DeWine lift restrictions on nursing home visitation.

The group, organized by Scott Reynolds, said he worries elderly family members are deteriorating without contact from family or friends.

"When your mother is standing at a window, banging on a window, asking you to come inside...I have to try to explain to her, and she doesn't comprehend," said Reynolds. He said his mother has Alzheimers, and it's been 89 days since he was able to be in the same room as her.

DeWine has expressed concern for congregate living facilities like nursing homes, where COVID-19 can be deadly for residents over the age of 65.

"That's my dad, he has dementia," said Gwen Coucher, who protested with the group. "Found out that we had to call hospice. He's not eating. He no longer talks. He has bed sores, and I haven't seen him since March 11."

The protesters said they want to check on their loved ones and worry that patients alone in rooms are suffering without family visits.

DeWine is allowing outdoor visits at assisted living facilities to recommence on Monday, but there hasn't been a specific timeline on when nursing homes will reopen for visitation. DeWine has ordered the Ohio National Guard to test workers and at-risk patients at every nursing home in the state, starting with facilities facing the most severe outbreaks of COVID-19.