With a scarf wrapped tightly around her face, Humaira Choudry walked Wednesday afternoon toward the entryway to Conestoga View Nursing & Rehabilitation at the eastern edge of Lancaster.
She’d traveled all the way from Harrisburg to see her elderly father, who lives in the East King Street nursing home, but she was taken aback when she reached the door.
“So I can go in, right?” she said, thinking out loud.
She couldn’t. A note taped to the door read: “We are not encouraging visitation at this time.”
Choudry stepped inside and was told that "encouraging" really meant stay away. Fears of COVID-19 spreading among the nursing facility’s population were too strong to allow visitation. COVID-19, commonly called coronavirus, has sickened and killed nursing home residents elsewhere in the United States. The virus has now infected more than a dozen Pennsylvanians.
Wednesday’s soft lockdown gave Choudry comfort.
“I’m happy that they are in a safe environment,” she said of her father and the other residents.
Choudry admitted she was wearing the scarf in an attempt to protect herself, and that she had visited local stores to buy hand sanitizer. They were already sold out.
Three miles west of Conestoga View, a similar note hung on the door to ManorCare Health Services about lunchtime, when a pair of sisters approached, carrying clothing and a walker for their father.
“Due to coronavirus we are currently not permitting visitors at this time,” read the note on the door of the Abbeyville Road facility in Lancaster Township.
The sisters, who were too busy to talk, immediately called their father to explain.
Only minutes earlier, the doors to Lancashire Hall on Lititz Pike in Manheim Township remained open, albeit with a warning: "Please do not visit if you have fever, cough or shortness of breath."
Sisters Deb Weitzel and Lori Biechler, both county residents, said they were greeted inside by a medical professional, who took their temperatures to ensure they weren't sick. They were at Lancashire Hall to see their 89-year-old aunt, who has lived in the facility for less than a month.
"I think it's just too much hype," Weitzel said, at first, dismissing the abundance of caution. "But I understand their concerns, and I'm glad they are looking out for the welfare of the residents."
Biechler maintained a similar perspective.
"I'm not worried about it, actually," she said.