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Rising COVID-19 cases in Arkansas causing some assisted living facilities to limit visitations again

There are 14 nursing homes in NWA and the River Valley with staff vaccination rates over 75%.

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Some assisted living facilities in the area are having to close their doors to visitation due to climbing COVID-19 numbers. 

Last week, the North Hills Life Care and Rehabilitation Facility in Fayetteville told family members that a resident had tested positive for COVID-19 and that they could no longer allow visitors to come inside the building. 

“I can’t go visit her, I can’t go get her, it’s really difficult because she has dementia and it’s important to keep connected with her, so it’s really tough," says Sonia Gutierrez-Harvey, who was cleared to start taking her mother on trips outside the facility just three weeks ago. 

At Butterfield Trail Village Independent Living Facility in Fayetteville, Jay Green says if three staff members, or one resident test positive for COVID-19, they must shut down visitation and go into outbreak mode.  

“Nursing homes are trying their best to keep it out of their doors, I guarantee you, no one that works in the senior healthcare industry wants to separate somebody from their loved one, family, or friends," says Green. 

Butterfield Trail Village is currently open to visitors, and they have some of the highest staff vaccination rates in Northwest Arkansas. The Arkansas Health Care Association has a vaccination rate goal of 75% that they are pushing for assistant living staff members to meet. Currently, there are 14 nursing homes in NWA and the River Valley with staff vaccination rates over 75%. 

“Mom doesn’t really understand when we visit or when we are there, so it’s important to me to try and be consistent to hopefully keep her memory jogged. I just want everyone to think about this incredibly vulnerable population,” says Sonia Gutierrez-Harvey.

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