AUSTIN, Texas – About half of the residents at a nursing home tested positive for COVID-19 in recent weeks. Even in the face of the outbreak, some families urge officials to let them in to care for their loved ones.

“It’s some of the most pathetic circumstances you could put someone in right now,” said Rachel Finney, whose 90-year-old grandmother tested negative for the disease in Pflugerville Health Care Center, about 15 miles north of Austin. “Having a visit with family … would do a lot for her state of mind.”

Finney is among thousands of Texans waiting for the chance to see their loved ones in person inside nursing homes for the first time in six months.

Although state officials started allowing visitors inside facilities in August, the requirements that facility operators had to meet – including testing staff weekly and being COVID-19-free for at least two weeks