'Rather die from COVID than loneliness:' Colorado nursing home residents protest restrictions

Residents at a nursing and rehabilitation facility in Colorado protested the state's COVID-19 restrictions, reports CBS affiliate KCNC-TV.

About 20 residents protested outside Greeley, Colo.-based Fairacres Manor Oct. 8, many in wheelchairs, holding signs that read "Rather die from COVID than loneliness," "Prisoners in our own home" and "Give us freedom."

"They want to be able to hug their grandchildren, they want to be able to hold the hands of their loved ones," said Ben Gonzales, an assistant administrator at Fairacres. Residents are able to see visitors, but have to stay 6 feet apart and can't have any physical contact.

The Fairacres Resident Council organized the protest, Mr. Gonzales told KCNC-TV. 

"We did this because one thing we have to look forward to is a simple hug," said 75-year-old Sharon Peterson, president of the Resident Council. "It gives us meaning."

The office of Colorado Gov. Jared Polis issued the following statement Oct. 9:

"We absolutely understand how difficult it has been for residents of residential care facilities and their families. Social interaction is essential to physical and mental health, and so we have provided guidance to residential care facilities that allows for that interaction while also keeping residents safe from COVID-19. Restrictions have been in place previously, but residents are now able to visit loved ones both indoors and outdoors. In addition, we are doing everything possible to help long-term care facilities mitigate and prevent the spread of COVID-19 by working directly with facilities on proper infection control practices that have been proven to slow the spread of COVID-19."

More articles on post-acute care:
Deaths of 2 residents at North Carolina nursing homes considered homicides, police say
Nevada reverses block on rapid COVID-19 tests in nursing homes
23 New York nursing homes fined $328K for COVID-19 safety violations

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