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Nursing home visitation ban over cornavirus impacting local families

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ROCKFORD (WREX) —The latest move to protect people from the spread of Covid-19 is also agonizing for some families in the area.

"All of the sudden yesterday, it was like, no. Nobody can come in," said Chris Knauer.

This year, Knauer will celebrate 50 years of marriage, she just may not get to celebrate it with her husband due to a new ban on nursing home visitors.

For more than 20 years, Knauer's husband has been at Alden Debes Rehabilitation Center after suffering a brain aneurysm.

"I spend several hours a day with him every day," she said.

Every day, until now.

"I say, 'how was your day?' He goes, 'not very good.' And I go, 'well why, Ron?' And he says, 'because I miss you.' And that's just so heartbreaking," said Knauer.

Her interactions with her husband are now limited to phone calls. It's because the coronavirus is particularly dangerous to the senior community.

For Tori Smith, the news on a visitor ban blindsided her.

"I didn't get to say goodbye. I didn't know they were doing this. There was no warning, come see them and then we're going to do this," said Smith.

Smith's mother is at Rosewood Care Center in Rockford. And no visits in her case, means no communication with her mother at all.

"She has dementia so I can't talk to her on the phone really," said Smith. "She doesn't understand why she's there, why she has to stay there."

While both women say they understand the precautions, it doesn't make the separation from their loved ones any less painful. Especially because no one knows when this ban will end.

The only exception for visiting nursing homes is in the case of an end of life decision.

Kristin Crowley

Evening News Anchor
Kristin Crowley anchors the 5, 6 and 10 p.m. news. She is also a reporter for 13 Investigates. She brings more than a decade of experience to the newsroom. Her work at WREX has earned her multiple awards including a regional Edward R. Murrow for Investigative Journalism and three regional Emmys.

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