Families separated by COVID reunite at Long Island nursing homes

For many Americans across the nation, it's been almost a year since they've been able to see some of their loved ones.

"I’m in shock," McGhee said. "I can’t believe it’s happening."

The move came during the height of the coronavirus pandemic and the two ended up not being able to spend time face to face until today.

"Seeing her through the window was disheartening," Foss said. "I didn’t like it. I didn’t like it at all."

The Nassau Rehabilitation and Nursing Center in Hempstead was able to reopen for the first time in months thanks to strict infection control protocols and lots of teamwork. Visiting is restricted to a designated area.

"The facility has to be COVID free for 14 days, visitation max 20-percent of total occupancy, two visitors at a time," said Jackie Kreismann with Nassau Rehabilitation and Nursing Center.

According to the governor’s office, they’re one of only 20 nursing homes eligible for visitation on Long Island. Statewide 220 facilities out of more than 600 are able to welcome visitors.

"There’s nothing that compares to seeing a loved one face to face," said Jacob Blobstein, with Nassau Rehabilitation and Nursing Center.

Other rules mandated by the state include wearing masks, staying 6-feet apart, and making sure visitors have negative COVID tests within 72 hours.

It’s one step closer towards normalcy.

"When you don’t see them and if they have memory issues, you don’t want them to forget who you are," Foss said. "It was her great. Even though you couldn’t see her smile, you could see it in her eyes."