Nursing homes are working tirelessly to protect staff and residents

COLUMBUS, Miss. (WCBI)- Since the Coronavirus pandemic, nursing homes have worked tirelessly to protect staff and residents.

One healthcare facility here in Columbus has reached a 99% of vaccinations.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services announces four nursing homes in Mississippi are at least 75% vaccinated.

Hopefully, more facilities will reach at least 50% percent over the next few months.
COVID-19 pandemic impacted thousands…

The virus swept through schools, workplaces, and nursing homes.

” We did have an outbreak back in July of last year. It hit us pretty hard,” said Amber Harper, the Administrator of Aurora Health and Rehabilitation.

The Mississippi State Departm ent of Health shows 258 active cases in long-term care facilities, that’s just in Lowndes County.

Harper says her facility suffered a loss in 2020.

“We had several staff members that had it and several residents that ended up with it. We did lose a few residents to it. It took a toll on us,” said Harper.

That’s why caregivers decided getting the vaccine would keep residents healthy.

” We had some people that have health concerns. We encouraged them to go and talk with their doctors. Most doctors are on board with them taking it. So it helped push a lot of them into getting the shot,” said Harper.

” Sometimes explaining just the seriousness and telling them they have to weigh the pros and cons. You may feel bad for a few days if you get the vaccine, but you could die if you catch COVID-19,” said Nurse Educator and Infections Preventions Patricia Reeves.

In Aurora Healthcare and Rehabilitation, 67 of 70 residents are fully vaccinated. Reeves says there is a 99% staff vaccination rate. One nurse will receive her second shot next week.

” We just re-educate and re-visit that every month to see if they have changed their mind,” said Harper.

Aurora is one of four nursing homes in Mississippi with a 75% vaccination rate.

” We were doing PPE check-offs, and I think that made us more confident. That is a reason why we didn’t have an outbreak until July. Protecting residents is our biggest priority, “said Reeves.

Harper tells me the company has decided newly hired nurses must get the vaccine.

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