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Despite COVID vaccination, Oshkosh man still can’t visit wife in assisted living

Published: Feb. 25, 2021 at 8:22 PM CST
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Oshkosh, Wis. (WBAY) - After being married 74 years, an Oshkosh man, who has barely seen his wife since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, is asking the state to ease lockdown restrictions on assisted living and nursing homes for people who are fully vaccinated.

It was in 1944 that Don Kiesow married his wife, Delores, and after living their entire life in Oshkosh she was moved to Arborview Manor just prior to virus outbreak at the age of 96.

“It makes the tears come to my eyes because I cannot do anything about it,” said Kiesow.

Since then, he’s only seen her five or six times, for short periods of time.

The last being two weeks ago, when they both received their second COVID-19 vaccinations.

“I thought sure after I had the vaccinations that I could go up and see her, but I cannot,” he said, adding, “So what am I going to do? She’s so down in the dumps, and I am, too.”

Kiesow has been advised by Arborview Manor to contact the Wisconsin Department of Health Services and state officials who set the rules for licensing, but so far he’s had no success.

Tim Burns is the facility’s program director.

“We’ve tried to address this to the state. We’ve tried to get a timeline, and it’s still pretty open; we don’t have an idea of when the lockdown will stop. I mean, this has been a year that we’ve been in lockdown, that families have not been able to come into our programs,” said Burns.

Both Kiesow and his wife have a number health issues, so having to wait longer might not be an option.

“I’ve got diabetes bad. I’ve got a heart situation where I’ve got seven stints in my heart. I’ve got kidney failure,” Kiesow said.

He’s speaking out, knowing many others are in the same situation.

“It’s very tough, very tough for both of us. We’ve never been apart all that time, and it’s hard, it’s very hard.”

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