Health officials warn against visiting nursing home residents


Hand sanitizers hang on the wall with a sign about COVID-19, also known as coronavirus from the UN World Health Organization (WHO) at the United Nations Headquarters on February 27, 2020. – President Donald Trump has played down fears of a major coronavirus outbreak in the United States, even as infections ricochet around the world, prompting Saudi Arabia to ban pilgrims from visiting Islam’s holiest sites.China is no longer the only breeding ground for the deadly virus as countries fret over possible contagion coming from other hotbeds of infection, including Iran, South Korea and Italy.There are now more daily cases being recorded outside China than inside the country, where the virus first emerged in December, according to the World Health Organization. (Photo by TIMOTHY A. CLARY / AFP) (Photo by TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP via Getty Images)

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CHICAGO — Health officials said friends and relatives should avoid visiting patients in assisted living centers as COVID-19 continues to spread.

“We are encouraging all people, including family members and loved ones, to not visit nursing homes and assisted living facilities,” said Mark Parkinson, President of the American Health Care Association.

“The grim reality is that, for the elderly, COVID-19 is almost a perfect killing machine,” Parkinson added.

Parkinson suggested alternative ways of communicating with loved ones such as phone calls, texts, FaceTime or Snapchat.

There about 1,200 long-term care facilities in Illinois, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health.

Nursing homes in Kentucky, Minnesota, and Washington state have already temporarily banned visitors.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee on Tuesday ordered nursing home to limit visitors after the coronavirus outbreak spread to 11 facilities in the state.

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