DES MOINES, Iowa — As Iowa turns the page on the COVID-19 pandemic with increasing vaccination rates, assisted living facilities are finally able to open back up to allow residents to visit with their families and with each other.
The Rose of Des Moines celebrated their grand reopening Wednesday by gathering all together to play games and just hang out.
Residents were forced to go on lockdown at the start of the pandemic due to their risk of serious illness. Now, these folks are able to go shopping and have their loved ones visit them.
The shutdown was immensely hard on residents. Many brought up depression as a big problem.
"This opening has meant a lot to all of us," said Taylor Beaman, an administrator at The Rose. "Lots of tears were shed at our last meeting so it's been hard but it's been worth it because we've had no COVID cases in our building for one year."
Residents there hope reopening will bring the community together again after not being allowed to see one another during the pandemic.
Last week, the Iowa Department of Public Health released new guidance for folks visiting long-term care facilities, which says facilities should allow "responsible indoor visitation" at all times regardless of who has the vaccine or not.
Of course, there are exceptions.
As of Wednesday morning, only one long-term care facility in the state of Iowa is experiencing a COVID-19 outbreak. Gov. Kim Reynolds said her administration expects there to be no more outbreaks by the end of this week.