Families of nursing home residents implore DeWine to improve protections, allow visits

Protesters demand to see loved ones in nursing facilities

FAIRFIELD, Ohio (FOX19) - Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine recently lifted some restrictions on assisted living facilities and homes for the developmentally disabled, but nursing homes across the state remain closed to all visitors.

Several Tri-State residents line up outside Woodridge Healthcare Friday with signs in hand. One read: ‘Isolation + no fresh air = no life'

Linda Roth says it’s been three months since she’s been able to hold her mother, Hilda, who is currently staying at Woodridge.

“She has early onset Alzheimer’s. She’s been here for two years. She can’t remember all the time that I’m her daughter, but she does know that I exist, and I know that she misses me, and I terribly miss her,” said Roth.

Roth took us on the route she has to travel every time she wants to see her mother. It’s a path behind the building.

After knocking repeatedly on the window, a staff member brought Hilda to the window.

“You’re beautiful today mom,” Roth said.

“Thank you,” Hilda replied.

“You’re welcome.”

It was a brief visit that drew out a few tears. Roth says her 73-year-old mother needs to be stimulated and have in-person interaction with family, lest her health should deteriorate.

“We are willing to wear masks. We’re willing to take all the proper precautions, but there have been no efforts on the facility’s part,” said Roth.

Woodridge has to follow state orders, but the protesters are calling for DeWine to do more, including mandatory inspections, temperature checks and free COVID-19 tests for all the staff to try to contain the spread.

“We want Mike DeWine to know that we want our families taken care of. Not by closing down these facilities and not helping make sure that mandatory tests are being done. Not at the cost of the employees and not at the cost of these families,” Roth said.

“COVID is killing our elderly at a phenomenal level, and there is a positive case at this facility reported to me today, and it’s just a matter of time before I am going to hear that my mother has it.”

Management at Woodridge did not respond to FOX19′s request for a comment.

We did reach out to DeWine’s office. We received a statement saying: “We are actively working on this issue. Nursing homes are congregate settings of our populations most vulnerable to COVID-19.”

Copyright 2020 WXIX. All rights reserved.