Central Virginia nursing homes await arrival of COVID-19 vaccine

Central Virginia nursing homes await arrival of COVID-19 vaccine

RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Nursing homes in Central Virginia are closely watching to see how soon their residents will be able to get ahold of a COVID-19 vaccine. Many of the outbreaks we’ve seen have happened in long-term care facilities.

Nationwide, 100,000 people have died in nursing homes. They’re counting on soon getting their hands on what they hope will save lives.

Westminster Canterbury in Richmond is on lockdown right now.

Officials have been navigating unfamiliar territory - how to stop the spread of COVID-19, especially in places where large numbers of people congregate and even live.

“These are the most vulnerable people,” John Burns said. He runs Westminster Canterbury in Richmond. “We were one of the first communities to experience it.”

Unfortunately, five people died there. Since then, Westminster Canterbury has gone on, off, and back on lockdown.

“As this new wave has come in, we’ve had to lock back down. Close our campus to visitation, close our dining, close some of the programs and services and deliver those things to their apartments…It’s not the quality of life our residents are accustomed to,” Burns said.

That’s why he and his colleagues are excited to learn 70,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine will first go to nursing home residents and health care workers in Virginia.

“It is absolutely impossible for our workers to not be exposed to that and despite best efforts, to bring it into the nursing homes,” said Keith Hare of the Virginia Health Care Association. “There are also going to be partnerships with both CVS and Walgreens to actually set up clinics at long-term care facilities to make sure the workers and the residents are vaccinated as soon as possible.”

“Until this week or last week, we knew a vaccine was coming. We weren’t sure when. Now, we can start to see the light at the end of the tunnel…I fully expect that we’re going to see the vaccine before the end of December,” Burns continued.

As news continues to develop about the arrival of a vaccine, police in Hopewell are sending out a scam alert. Someone is using an 804 number calling elderly people on Medicare trying to get them to send money in order to receive a vaccine. Police say not to fall for it.

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