Mass virus test in nursing home seeks to combat loneliness

The residents at the Weiss nursing home in eastern France want to chat face to face, to play board games, to share meals. And so each gave a vial of blood to be tested for the coronavirus, as did each staff member — about 580 tests in all. The goal: to identify who must be isolated and who will be allowed the freedom to leave their rooms.

“We spend all our days between those four walls — that’s it, we are not allowed to go out. We don’t even have the right to go out in the hallway,” said Henry Bohn, a 69-year-old who suffered a stroke that has left him in a wheelchair. “They bring us breakfast, lunch and dinner here in the room. Luckily, we have the sun these days and it helps, but we do miss the essential things.”

An Associated Press photographer spent two days chronicling the virus testing at three of the 10 nursing homes in France’s Haut-Rhin region, where comprehensive testing was ordered by local authorities. The site in Ammerschwir poses particular problems with its small rooms and long corridors, and residents with often-severe cognitive difficulties.

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