Nursing homes, long-term care facilities relieved by news of COVID-19 vaccine

Published: Dec. 3, 2020 at 9:19 PM CST
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - People living in nursing homes and long-term care facilities are among those hit hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic and thus are toward the top of the list to receive a vaccine when it becomes available.

The news that the first doses in Kansas could be administered within weeks relieving for many of the facilities that have had to fight extra hard to limit the spread of the virus. Thursday, Eyewitness News spoke with one nursing home that is still recovering from some devastating losses.

While the vaccine is not a cure for COVID-19, it does represent a light at the end of the pandemic’s tunnel. It will at least help to slow the spread of the virus, running rampant through many nursing homes and long-term care facilities across the U.S. It’s been an especially difficult couple of weeks for residents and staff members at Wichita’s Homestead Health Center. In November, every resident in the facility tested positive for COVID-19. Eight of them died.

“We are so glad November is over with, and we are looking forward to December and getting the vaccine,” said Homestead Health Center Administrator Elizabeth Green. “...Like any virus, COVID will mutate, so the vaccine is not a cure for all. We will still wear masks physical distancing well into next year...with the fact that all of our residents tested positive it buys us a lot of time before we see isolating cases going forward.”

There are still many questions concerning the details of the vaccine and exactly how it will work.

“Walgreens is supposed to be contacting us,” Green said. “We have asked for enough vaccines for all of our residents and all of our staff. We haven’t really approached staff about ‘yes,’ or ‘no.’ “Many are saying, ‘yes,’ they will get it.”

Despite the unknowns with a COVID-19 vaccine, Homestead Health Center is among the local facilities just glad to see that something is on the way.

“Our staff knows that they are loved and cared for by the families, that these people are apart of our family as well as their own family,” Green said. “And when anything happens in the negative, our hearts break too.”

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