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Family and Friends window box allows up-close visits for residents of The Birches Assisted Living as the pandemic continues

The idea behind the box is pretty simple. With so many people feeling isolated and not able to see relatives and friends since the coronavirus pandemic hit hard about 10 months ago, construction of the window box has allowed Birches residents to have visits, separated only by a pane of glass. Microphones and headphones, when desired, make for easier communication, and disinfecting both sides of the box after each visit keeps it a safe place.

“It certainly is a whole lot better than not seeing my family,” said Morgan, who on Feb. 16 marks five years of living at Birches Assisted Living and Memory Care. “It’s kind of a novelty, and I enjoy it. It helps a lot to not feel so isolated and away from my family. It’s so much easier to talk in person this way.”

Read More Birches Assisted Living Visitation Box

An assisted living facility in Clarendon Hills went 4 months without COVID-19 cases.

While nursing homes and assisted living facilities have, in some cases, been a hotbed of coronavirus cases since the pandemic began in mid-March, The Birches Assisted Living in Clarendon Hills went more than four months without a positive case.

The Birches, 215 55th St., had its first positive test, with a staff member, on May 5, following the state’s executive order to lock down on March 20, said Jacqueline Sander, executive director of The Birches. The first case for a resident was May 7, for someone who was asymptomatic. Mass testing for all residents and staff began May 8, Sander said.

Learn more about how we went four months without COVID-19 cases