Minnesota man visits elderly father through window, as COVID-19 prohibits in-person visits

Charlie Johnson visits his father Bernard at Whispering Pines Senior Living in Anoka amid the coronavirus pandemic.

As nursing homes across Minnesota implement strict visitation restrictions amid the COVID-19 outbreak, people are getting creative with how to spend time with their loved ones.

Charlie Johnson of Anoka has vowed to keep his daily visits with his father, despite visitation limits put in place by the senior living facility where Bernard Johnson lives.

“I don’t want anybody to get sick, I don’t want him to get sick or the other guys to get sick,” said Charlie Johnson. “If he were to get this, it probably do him.”

Charlie supports the ban on visitors at Whispering Pines Assisted Living. His father has COPD, heart issues and is currently on oxygen. When the ban started Friday, he moved his chair to the other side of the exterior wall, talking to his dad on the phone while they watched each other through the window.

Whispering Pines said they attempted to simply limit visitors when cases were first reported in Minnesota, but as the outbreak widened they make the difficult decision to temporarily ban visitors.

“It was horrible. We don’t want to restrict. We want to give every opportunity to these people in their final years of life,” said Vice President of Whispering Pines Sharon Compton. “We can’t take the chance that there won’t be a respirator for them if they need them. Because these lives matter.”

A home health aide who works at the facility photographed Charlie and his father meeting Sunday and posted it on Facebook. In less than one day, the post have been shared more than half-a-million times.