▶️ Despite vaccinations, COVID threat persists at local senior centers

By BROOKE SNAVELY
CENTRAL OREGON DAILY NEWS

As COVID vaccine availability increases and more and more people get immunized, there’s a general perception that life is getting back to normal.

But in long-term care and assisted living facilities, COVID is still a real and pervasive threat.

Here at Countryside Living, a senior care facility and Whoopsie Daisy Childcare, young and old interacted, until COVID hit.

“The children still do their pledge of allegiance and their good morning song to their grand pals from the balcony,” said Kathy Dominguez, Countryside Living and Whoopsy Daisy Executive Director. “But they are still not able to go down and have that one-on-one connection, doing morning circle, having lunch, reading a book. It’s still from afar.”

Countryside Living is among several Central Oregon nursing, residential care and assisted living facilities with recent and current positive COVID tests among residents and staff.

Under state guidelines such facilities cannot accept new residents, they must take extra precautions such as screening the health of all who enter, require hand washing and mandatory face masks.

“All our residents are vaccinated. Some families are now getting vaccinated and think that now that they are both vaccinated, they can just start living life as usual and that’s not the case. Still the same protocol. Still calling to set up those appointments and they meet with their loved one upstairs practicing social distancing,” Dominguez said.

Long-term care facilities remain on a watch list while residents or staff recover from the virus, and for an additional 14 days until no one shows symptoms.

“Truly we are living with COVID. You have to adapt to it,” Dominguez said.

In a cruel twist of fate, Countryside Living didn’t have any positive COVID tests until after residents began receiving vaccinations.

The facility administrator’s theory is those cases may have been asymptomatic.

She says they may have lost some residents had they not been vaccinated.

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