Separated from loved ones for months, elderly face even lonelier holidays during the coronavirus pandemic

Elderly people in nursing homes and assisted living facilities around the country haven’t been able to hug a loved one in many months because of the coronavirus pandemic. Now, many are facing their first Thanksgiving and possibly Christmas without them.



a person in glasses looking at the camera: Grace Barnum


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Grace Barnum

“I’m just waiting,” Grace Barnum, 76, a resident at Beechwood Long Term Care in New London, Connecticut, said. Fighting back tears, she added: “To be able to hug again.”



a man sitting on a bed: Cathy Corey said about not seeing loved ones: "it's like my heart gets ripped out sometimes."


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Cathy Corey said about not seeing loved ones: “it’s like my heart gets ripped out sometimes.”

Nursing homes and other facilities for the elderly were hit hard early on in the pandemic because the virus is so deadly among that population. There have been more than 70,000 deaths in long-term care facilities, and though the people there account for only about 8% of coronavirus cases, they made up 45% of deaths by early September, according

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27 coronavirus deaths at Illinois veterans nursing home prompts probe

LASALLE, Ill. (AP) — State officials have launched investigations into a coronavirus outbreak at a veterans nursing home in Illinois that has infected nearly 200 residents and staff members, and killed 27 veterans.

News outlets reported Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s office and the state’s Department of Veteran’s Affairs are attempting to determine what caused the outbreak at the state-run LaSalle Veterans’ Home. The department on Tuesday requested an independent probe into the facility, which was the focus of a state Senate committee virtual hearing on the outbreak.

“The tragedy of what has unfolded at the veterans’ home cannot be understated,” said State Senator Sue Rezin, who represents the district where the home is located. “I’m glad that the director has called for an independent investigation and agree that there are lesson to be learned from this terrible outbreak that has claimed the lives of 27 of our nation’s heroes.”

The

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Illinois Authorities Investigate Outbreak At Veterans’ Home That Killed 27 : Coronavirus Updates : NPR

The Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs, led by Linda Chapa LaVia, shown here in 2018, has ordered an independent investigation into a coronavirus outbreak at a veterans’ home.

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The Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs, led by Linda Chapa LaVia, shown here in 2018, has ordered an independent investigation into a coronavirus outbreak at a veterans’ home.

John O’Connor/AP

Officials in Illinois have ordered an independent investigation into a coronavirus outbreak that killed 27 people at a state-operated veterans’ home. The state’s Department of Veterans’ Affairs announced the decision in a statement Tuesday, pledging to “immediately address any findings from that investigation.”

“The recent outbreak of COVID-19 and subsequent loss of lives at the LaSalle Veterans’ Home is a tragedy,” Illinois Veterans Affairs Director Linda Chapa LaVia said in the statement. “My heart goes out to the families and loved ones of those

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Coronavirus surge has LA on the brink of a stay-home order

The nation’s largest county is on the brink of a stay-home order after a coronavirus surge surpassed a level set by Los Angeles County public health officials to trigger such an action

A swell of new cases put the county over a five-day average of 4,500 cases per day, but Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said no action would be taken until county supervisors meet Tuesday.

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Public Officials Campaign To Keep People Home For Thanksgiving : Coronavirus Updates : NPR

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam gives a COVID-19 briefing at the Capitol in Richmond on Wednesday. Many governors are urging Americans to stay home for Thanksgiving.

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Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam gives a COVID-19 briefing at the Capitol in Richmond on Wednesday. Many governors are urging Americans to stay home for Thanksgiving.

Steve Helber/AP

Across the country, public officials are urging people to stay home and stay safe during the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday amid a dramatic rise in new cases of COVID-19 in nearly every state.

Experts warn that the holiday week will be a crucial time for fighting the virus, and that even limited family gatherings could result in devastatingly high numbers of newly infected people. Hospitals are already reaching capacity around the country, as the country hit the grim milestone of 12 million confirmed cases.

Last week, the Centers for Disease Control

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College students head home as coronavirus cases spike



a statue in front of a brick building: All students and staff at Plymouth State have been tested weekly for coronavirus.


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All students and staff at Plymouth State have been tested weekly for coronavirus.

When Dr. Deborah Birx hit the road earlier this year to take her message of coronavirus prevention to towns and cities across the country, she made a point of including college campuses.

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There she could see how universities were adapting in the pandemic with social distancing, mask wearing and introducing testing regimes.

And the senior member of the White House coronavirus task force also had a message for students: Don’t take coronavirus home for Thanksgiving.

At Plymouth State University in New Hampshire, she said: “We will have to adapt this Thanksgiving, just like the students have adapted to how they interact with each other. This virus can spread among families and friends if you take your mask off and you’re primarily indoors.”

With many colleges ending their fall semester this week, it’s now

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Coronavirus pandemic is bringing rats, mice into Michigan homes

Rats are coming into our homes. (Photo: Jon Mills, WZZM, Jon Mills, WZZM)

DETROIT – Can it get any more 2020 than this?

Now, we have rats.

Nearly 1 in 4 Michigan households are reporting an increase in rats and mice since the coronavirus pandemic began, according to a survey by a pest-management company.

There are some reasons for this.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, acknowledging the nation’s pandemic-related rodent problem, points out that restaurants have reduced service, which means fewer food scraps are ending up in the dumpsters on which rats and mice often feed.

And, according to Smith’s Pest Management, a California service that commissioned the survey via Google Surveys, our houses are the perfect substitute.

We’re home more, which means we’re producing more garbage. Nationwide, 1 in 3 households report a notable increase in garbage accumulation, the Smith’s survey said.

We’re also cleaning less,

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Can You Test At Home for Coronavirus?

There are some pleas for caution on at-home tests, even among their boosters. Topol, from the Scripps Research Translational Institute, argues that we first need a large clinical trial to show that the tests are effective at stopping outbreaks. The test that does so, then, could set the standard for others like it.

Other experts say that imprecise, at-home tests are a terrible idea. Michael Osterholm, the director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, worries that if the country is awash in tests that return too many incorrect results, people will lose confidence in testing. They might refuse to get tested, refuse to self-isolate if they test positive, or get PCR and antigen tests mixed up. After the federal government gave nursing homes some antigen rapid tests, the state of Nevada ordered the homes to stop using them once they were

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A national group for Christian doctors pleads with churches to worship at home. : Coronavirus Updates : NPR

As coronavirus cases spike, a national group that represents thousands of evangelical Christian doctors and other healthcare providers is asking churches to stop holding services in person.

In a statement provided to NPR, titled, “A Plea to Our Churches,” leaders of the Christian Medical & Dental Associations say that Christians who persist in holding large gatherings at this time could “appear to care only about our individual freedoms and don’t care that we may be contributing to others getting this illness because of our selfishness.”

A member of Jesus’ Church prays on top of a car during a Sunday church service held at Great Marsh Park in Cambridge, Maryland, on March 22, 2020.

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A member of Jesus’ Church prays on top of a car during a Sunday church service held at Great Marsh Park in Cambridge,

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F.D.A. Authorizes the First At-Home Coronavirus Test

Here’s what you need to know:

Credit…Lucira Health

The Food and Drug Administration on Tuesday gave an emergency green light to the first rapid coronavirus test that can run from start to finish at home, paving a potential path for more widespread testing outside of health care settings.

The test, developed by California-based company Lucira Health, requires a prescription from a health care provider. People under the age of 14 also can’t perform the test on themselves. But with a relatively simple nasal swab, the test can return results in about half an hour, and is projected by the company to cost $50 or less, according to the product’s website. Clinicians can also run the test on their patients, including children under the age of 14, potentially delivering answers during a single visit to a care

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