Marion assisted living facility planning for a “new normal” in reopening during Phase 3

Illinois set to reopen for Phase Three at the end of May
Published: May. 26, 2020 at 6:03 PM CDT
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MARION, Il. (KFVS) - As Illinois prepares to reopen in Phase Three, businesses, organizations, and nursing homes alike are making plans to reopen safely.

Sunshine Gardens in Marion, Illinois has been on lockdown for more than two months.

The sign on their front doors read “Attention: Concern is that asymptomatic guests will bring Coronavirus to vulnerable residents”.

In preparation, owner Srini Gundala allowed residents-only to come out of lockdown for the first time Monday for a Memorial Day cook out in front of the building.

One of the residents at the facility, Verna Aden, has lived there for almost five years.

She said the cookout was a good idea to get everyone out in good spirits.

“So when I went out there and smelled that grill...ohhh it was so good and the food taste like nothing I’ve ever had before," Aden said.

She said her experience in lockdown went by pretty fast.

“I think of things to keep busy and keep my mind busy," she said. “So I haven’t had any trouble really.”

Aden says she reads a lot and also writes letters to her great-grandchildren.

Gundala said hes manged to keep the facility COVID-19 free by keeping residents separated, areas cleaned, and temperatures checked.

He plans to test everyone negative before opening the doors.

“I want to get all my residents, and the staff members, and all the memory care residents, nurses, cooks, staff, everybody tested first. Make sure the rules are good, and then we want to safely open it for the families to come in," Gundala said.

Aden has adapted to the “new normal", but she does not take it for granted.

She said she prays every day for her fellow residents, the owner, and the staff.

“I just thank the Lord for another day and pray that he will wake me up when morning comes,” she said.

According to Jackson County Public Health, because healthcare facilities have been open throughout the pandemic and deemed essential, they are not listed in the state’s re-opening guidance.

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