AUSTIN, Texas – About half of the residents at a Texas nursing home have tested positive for COVID-19 in recent weeks. But even in the face of the outbreak, some families are urging 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 has tested negative for the disease in Pflugerville Health Care Center, about 15 miles north of Austin. “Having a visit with family and outside safely would do a lot for her state of mind.”

Finney is among thousands of Texans who are 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