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Congregate living facilities continue to battle ‘high-risk’ COVID-19 threats

A sign outside of The Neighborhoods by TigerPlace reading "stay vigilant, keep COVID-19 out."
ABC 17 News
A sign outside of The Neighborhoods by TigerPlace reading "stay vigilant, keep COVID-19 out."


Sixteen of Mid-Missouri's nursing homes and other congregate living facilities have seen COVID-19 cases in staff or residents as the state continues working to give families access to outdoor visits with loved ones.

Boone County has six such facilities with at least one resident or staff member with COVID-19.

Congregate living facilities include long-term care facilities, skilled nursing facilities, intermediate care facilities, assisted living facilities and residential care facilities that provide nursing or convalescent care.

The state began June 15 to allow congregate living facilities to restart communal activities and outdoor visits, with guidelines. While the state is no longer under a COVID-19 health order, protections remain for residents of these facilities.

Many of those residents are older or have underlying health problems -- two major risk factors for the worst complications of COVID-19.

Tom Hoeferlin, the owner of multiple Valley Park retirement homes in Missouri says since June, they have allowed some of those new activities.

"It's been a total turnaround, folks have been able to sit and talk with their family members, they can actually sit out on the porch and they're all seeing each other during mealtimes," Hoeferlin said. "So, it's worked out very well, mentally, it's been a wonderful uplift for these folks."

But not all long term care facilities are on the same page, The Bluffs in Columbia has seen a number of positive COVID-19 cases within it's facility and Donna Bowers, the executive director, says they're taking a slower approach.

"We have had some COVID cases in our building so we have been really strict in our approach to make people really protective, staying away from each other, cleaning and wearing masks and those types of things," Wobble said.

Meanwhile, cases have been on the rise locally, statewide and nationally. Missouri's and Boone County's average daily new cases have hit their record for the entire pandemic.

Since March, congregate living facilities have been mostly locked down because of the coronavirus. Public visits have been banned since that time.

Boone / Columbia / Family / Missouri / News / Senior Citizens / Top Stories

Zach Boetto

Zach Boetto started working with ABC 17 News in June after graduating from California State University-Channel Islands with a degree in organizational communication. He reports weekday evenings and weekend mornings.


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