Cooperstown Center Director of Nursing Lacey Rinker is still vaccinating nursing home residents and staff. About 92% of residents have been vaccinated, and half the staff. Residents who’ve been vaccinated can have close contact with loved ones, but those who aren’t have to maintain a strict six feet apart. It’s a difficult task for the nursing home residents and the staff to have to comply with so many rules.
"To see so many families reunited, and the tears of joy after having our doors closed for a whole year. In December we were able to open under the guidance then for maybe two weeks, and then we had another positive case, so you know you just get that door open and it would close again, and it just….you started to see the residents really take a toll."
Family members have to follow numerous guidelines before being allowed to see their loved ones, but for visitors like Vera Bell it’s worth it.
"They miss their families and I’m sure it was extremely lonely," she said.
The staff here set up numerous on-line connections, and even had window visitations, but resident Vera Sanzone says it just wasn’t the same as in-person visits.
"Ah…just a little more lonely you know….you get frustrated sometimes, but you deal with it."
Lacey Rinker talked about how the extensive quarantine took its toll on the staff here as well.
"A married couple of 60 years, the wife was coming every day, and all the sudden you have to tell her no you can’t come see your husband, and it breaks your heart. It does, and the phone calls that you get, the angry phone calls you know, and we’re following the Governor’s rules, and it’s not the Governor taking those calls, but to see all those happy families I would take those calls again every day, all day long if I had to, but I kept them safe. We kept them safe, and that’s what matters."
Cooperstown Center is now seeing an average of about 10-50 visitors a day.