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Protesters seek chance to visit loved ones in veterans home in Stony Brook

People rally outside the Long Island State Veteran

People rally outside the Long Island State Veteran Home in Stony Brook on Saturday where they called for better policies and living conditions. Credit: James Carbone

About 44 people stood outside the Long Island State Veterans Home in Stony Brook on Saturday, asking that restrictions be lifted so can they see their loved ones inside.

Because of a state Department of Health mandate the veterans home has barred visits due to COVID-19.

The event featured members from Voices for Seniors, a group started by a pair of Deer Park sisters who lost their mother to COVID-19 and are calling for improved accountability and transparency inside state-licensed nursing homes. Some who had a family member inside the Patriots Road facility stood outside holding signs including "Let me see my dad" and "I need to see my family."

Erin Wynne of Centereach said she has not seen her father in seven months.

"We didn’t get to see him for his 94th birthday," said Wynne, who arrived at the facility with her three sisters. "I just want to see my dad. I miss him. He’s my best friend."

Tracey Alvino of Voices for Seniors said her father died of COVID-19 while at a facility.

"I can’t fight for his life but I can fight for all these people’s lives that are in here today and in the facilities across the country that cannot see their loved ones," she said. "They’re dying of isolation, of loneliness of failure to thrive and it’s unconscionable."

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