Skip to Content

Jefferson City family reunited as long-term care facilities relax restrictions


After nearly a year of lockdowns and restrictions, the daughter of a nursing home resident in Jefferson City was able to hug her mother under the new guidance.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued updated and relaxed guidance for long-term care facilities earlier in March.

The guidance states the facilities should allow indoor visitation at all times and for all residents regardless of vaccination status.

Dorothy Ponder has lived at Jefferson City Manor throughout the pandemic, where her and her family have been following the guidance by only doing outdoor and socially distanced visits.

On Monday, her daughter Olivia Barklage was able to schedule an in-person visit and was able to hug, while both wearing masks, under the new guidance.

"It was her birthday 2 years ago," Olivia recalled the last time she hugged her mom. "And we didn't get to hug last year though."

ABC17 News spoke with the family in October when they were able to see each other outside for the first time.

"I needed one," Ponder said after the visit.

Jefferson City Manor relaxed its policies in accordance with the new guidance. A spokesman for JC Manor said in a statement social distancing, handwashing, face masks and health screenings will still be required, but personal contact can be allowed in certain circumstances.

This is a huge step forward in the lives of our residents and we are excited to be able to welcome their loved ones back into our facility for visitation, even if on a limited capacity for now. We know a lot of families have struggled with the decision to place a loved one in a skilled nursing and rehabilitation facility because of the visitation restrictions.  Now they are able to visit in person with their loved one and we are here to help."

JC Manor

All visits must be scheduled and there is a limit of two visitors at a time, to keep an eye on the number of people in the facility. Families may also take residents out of the facility, but have to follow the infection control guidelines when they return.

While it still isn't completely normal, Olivia and Dorothy say it's a step in the right direction.

"Being able to do your visits without having to schedule one, just come and go as you please, I really miss that," Barklage said. "That's what we are really looking forward to, the times where we can all get together outside."

Cole County has reported 270 cases of the virus in long-term care facilities, which have resulted in 54 deaths. The communicable disease coordinator for the Cole County Health Department said they rely on the guidance of the state for long-term care facilities.

We are hopeful that cases in high-risk communities will remain low and that the vaccine and lower numbers in the general population will help ensure this. Vaccine manufacturers state that the efficacy of the vaccine reflects the ability of the vaccine to lessen symptoms and decrease the risk of hospitalization. That is our hope.

Chezney Schulte, Cole County Health Department

Ponder said she is just happy to be able to see her family, saying the pandemic has been tough.

"I'm glad to be 82 and around," Ponder said. "It's been a challenge, a big challenge."

Barklage and Ponder said were grateful for the care provided by JC Manor and the activities director who has worked directly with Dorothy throughout the whole pandemic.

Watch ABC17 News at 9 and 10 for the full report.

Article Topic Follows: News

Jump to comments ↓

Author Profile Photo

Connor Hirsch

Connor Hirsch reports for the weekday night shows, as well as Sunday nights.


ABC 17 News is committed to providing a forum for civil and constructive conversation.

Please keep your comments respectful and relevant. You can review our Community Guidelines by clicking here

If you would like to share a story idea, please submit it here.

Skip to content