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Texas eased restrictions for nursing homes — but she still can't see her mom and knows that isolation can be deadly

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Jimmie Arnold, left, and Gary Arnold celebrate Christmas with Jimmie Arnold's mom, Chloe Millard, inside the couple's Bryan home. Credit: Courtesy of Jimmie Arnold

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Jimmie Arnold says the state's recent decision allowing for limited visitation at nursing homes is “political smoke and mirrors.”

The Bryan woman last saw her mom and mother-in-law — who were residents at the same area facility — in mid-March and says the relaxed visitation guidelines have not changed the situation. She’s still shut out.

In early August, state health officials reversed a policy intended to keep the state’s most vulnerable populations safe from COVID-19, the illness caused by the new coronavirus. Under the new guidance, some indoor visits are permitted at assisted-living facilities, provided there are plexiglass barriers, there are no active cases of the novel coronavirus among residents and there are no confirmed cases among staff in the last two weeks. Physical contact between residents and visitors is not permitted, state officials said.

The restrictions are tighter on nursing facilities, which must test staff members weekly and can offer only outdoor visits. Without any plans for her mom's nursing home to test regularly, Arnold has been unable to enter.

Arnold says she knows COVID-19 is deadly but that isolation has consequences, too.

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