Mississippi Veterans Affairs (MSVA) continued Operation “Family Reunion” on Thursday, a celebration throughout its State Veterans Home System that allows residents to reunite with their
family members via full visitation for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic began.
MSVA has provided scheduled visits for families during a three-day window. With certain COVID-19 restrictions still in place, due to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Mississippi Department of Health (MSDH) guidance, only two family members per resident were allowed.
MSVA Executive Director Stacey Pickering offered the perspective of what this moment meant for everyone involved.
“Keeping our residents safe has been our number one priority during the pandemic,” said Pickering. “But I can truly say that bringing families back together was right there atop the list as well. Our team members go home every day and see their loved ones face to face in the same space. Our residents and their families have not had that opportunity for over a year. And we have done everything in our power to make this moment as safe as possible.”
Each attendee of this week’s Operation Family Reunion was tested for COVID-19 before entering the facility and will be tested during future visitations for the foreseeable future. All visitors wore masks, and other personal protective equipment (PPE) was worn when necessary. Over 90 percent of the approximately 430 residents at the four State Veterans Homes in Collins, Jackson, Kosciusko and Oxford received a COVID-19 vaccine.
For those residents that decided not to receive a vaccination, visitation was limited to their personal rooms instead of open and common areas of the Home.