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'A Sad Situation': Fully Vaccinated Nursing Home Residents Still Can't See Family In Illinois

CHICAGO (CBS) -- With many nursing home residents fully vaccinated, their families thought this was the light at the end of a year of loneliness.

The only problem is nothing has changed.

CBS 2 Investigator Megan Hickey has been pushing for answers from the state which said it's still working on it.

The federal government already updated its guidance when it comes to fully vaccinated nursing home residents. But the state told it's reviewing those recommendations. It had its own questions.

Meanwhile, families said their loved ones can't wait much longer.

"I'll stand outside her window and I'll call her on the phone and I try to talk to her."

This has been the norm for a year for Judith Demos and her soon-to-be 96-year-old mother.

"It's just such a sad situation," Demos said.

Even though both of them are fully vaccinated, her mom is in isolation due to a positive COVID test from a staff member at her long term care facility. So for now, no visitors, no activities.

"I can't get in. But yet, people who refuse to be vaccinated, they're allowed to go in," Demos said.

She was told that not all staff opted to be vaccinated. IDPH said there is no federal or state mandate for employees to receive it. And that as of Tuesday afternoon, it's still working on guidance that covers the rules for fully vaccinated individuals.

"It doesn't make any sense."

Shannon Davis said it's taken too long. Her mother lives in an assisted living facility.

"Yeah, I mean her her weight is probably the easiest thing like to track," Davis said.

She's also watched as her mother as withered physically and mentally during her year in isolation. She thought the vaccination would help turn that around. But her mother is also still in quarantine, due to positive staff test.

"Why are they in their bedrooms? They're all vaccinated. They should be able to come out in small groups," Davis said.

A consulting firm for her mother's nursing home said it's waiting on updated guidance from IDPH. And that changing guidance has been very difficult to operationalize quickly as federal, as state and local health departments all provide guidance and recommendations.

Davis and Demos said they're pushing for an update as soon as possible.

"You know me, you know we'll still go in wear a mask, you know, kind of maintain a little distance but you know they've been in there for so long, Demos said.

"The rules have to catch up with what's going on right now," Davis said.

The state of Indiana also has not come up with their updated guidance for fully vaccinated residents.


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