Miami Valley nursing homes concerned over recent case increase

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SPRINGFIELD, Ohio (WDTN) — Several area nursing homes are concerned for their residents’ safety and are questioning whether restrictions should be enforced again.

At The Ohio Masonic Home, over 97 percent of residents are vaccinated, along with a large portion of their staff. However, with the delta variant spreading and cases rising there is a growing concern among the most vulnerable.

“We still are very conservative with our approach, we take it very seriously,” said Tony Berardi, president of Ohio Masonic Home. “We do not by any stretch of the imagination feel that we got anything but lucky when it comes to our numbers through the pandemic.”

The Ohio Masonic Home just recently relaxed safety measures but still enforce various guidelines to protect their residents and staff. Berardi said in case they have to shut down again, they have a plan in place that will only take 30 minutes. The plan consists of removing all visitors, reassigning staff to specific areas and locking down the area in a moment of crisis.

“We became so regimented in how we lived our life everyday through the pandemic that we’re taking advantage of some of the freedoms we have but we know in a moment’s notice things can change and we can go on a lockdown at any moment in time,” said Berardi.

Back in October, 46 residents and 26 staff members at Villa Springfield tested positive for COVID-19 in the span of five days. Villa Springfield lost 15 residents over the course of the pandemic, so the current surge of cases is a cause for concern.

“We’re concerned and don’t know what to expect, kind of scary to think here we go again,” said Villa Springfield Executive Director Bill Robinson. “I feel bad for our residents knowing there’s still a possibility we could be shut down again.”

Robinson says life is back to normal at Villa Springfield with a few safety guidelines but their guard is still up to ensure their residents and staff’s safety.

“We are requiring people to check in and check temps, masks, encouraging social distancing and encouraging vaccinations for the employees who are not yet vaccinated or our residents,” said Robinson.

At this time congregate care settings still require health safety  guidelines for residents, no word when all restrictions will be removed.

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