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Assisted living facilities changing visitation policies due to COVID-19

Savannah Court of the Palm Beaches in West Palm Beach on July 29, 2021.jpg
Posted at 5:17 PM, Jul 29, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-29 18:24:23-04

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Some assisted living facilities in South Florida are updating their policies for visitors because of a spike in COVID-19 cases.

In the parking lot at Savannah Court of the Palm Beaches in West Palm Beach, WPTV found Rick Ferro on Thursday, beaming with pride and showing off pictures of his father.

"He's taken care of me my whole life," Ferro said. "And of course I'm taking care of him now."

Rocco Ferro suffers from dementia. He's moving from another nursing home to Savannah Court in two weeks.

"I like to see him everyday make a special trip to see him so he knows he's not alone," Ferro said.

But this nursing home and assisted living facility in West Palm Beach is now limiting visitors to keep everyone safe.

There can only be three visitors at a time, you need an appointment, and you must wear a face mask and practice social distancing. In addition, you can only meet a loved one in the primary dining room, TV room, or courtyard.

"Everyone is scheduling an appointment," said executive director Joseph Brown.

Coronavirus cases are exploding in Florida and two employees recently tested positive.

WPTV was invited inside Savannah Court in January when residents started receiving the COVID-19 vaccine.

Brown said 85% to 90% percent of the staff here have also been inoculated. But according to AARP, only two in five Florida nursing home workers are vaccinated.

"It's a selfish attitude to take so I think it's more education and more dedication in the right direction," Brown said.

For Ferro, whose dad counts on him, the new policy is another step backward and another challenge for his family.

"I don't like it, I'm just hoping my dad, I can explain it to him and possibly he'll remember," Ferro said. "My dad does not understand why I can't come."