SPRINGFIELD, Ohio (WDTN) — Forty-seven thousand Christmas lights decorate Villa Springfield Rehabilitation and Healthcare Center but this year they bring a new significance. The lights are shining bright in memory of 15 residents who lost their lives to COVID-19.
“I was scared, I was upset,” said Geraldine Wilson, a resident at Villa Springfield. “It’s been hard, hard not to see my family.”
Wilson was one of the 46 residents that tested positive for covid-19 along with 26 staff members at Villa Springfield’s Rehabilitation and Healthcare Center. In the span of five days in October, staff members say they went from zero cases to over half their residents testing positive.
“We cried. It was devastating. We knew what was coming, once it was in the building it was like fire,” said Bill Robinson, Villa Springfield’s executive director.
Robinson described his experience as feeling helpless and one of the scariest moments in his life.
“Our residents are our families, my job as the executive director is to protect them and to protect my staff but this was something I had no control over,” said Robinson.
Wilson says before the pandemic, her daughter visited her everyday but since the pandemic started they’ve only been able to communicate through windows or video calls.
“I have a blanket with all my children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren’s name on it and it means so much to me,” said Wilson. “I miss them so much.”
Staff members said they have never experienced anything like being a caregiver during a pandemic, but the reason they still show up to work everyday is simple.
“In God’s strength, you show up because that’s what we do, we’re in this business because we love our patients,” said Robinson. “We love what we do, so you choose to show up every day and fight your way through it.”
Currently there are no positive cases and staff members say they firmly believe if people want things to go back to normal, the community needs to join the fight and wear their masks.