Local nursing homes dealing with COVID-19 vaccinations and outbreaks

Schenectady County

CAPITAL REGION, N.Y. (NEWS10) — The rush is on to get more patients and staff at local nursing homes vaccinated. But that rush is being met with a much bigger problem, COVID-19 outbreaks within nursing homes.

The Baptist Health Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Scotia has been coping. Officials say since COVID-19 testing has begun, the cumulative number of workers with confirmed COVID positive results is 88 and the cumulative number of residents/patients with confirmed COVID positive results is 27.

Their last positive case was on January 20th and their last positive employee case was January 21st. The Baptist Health Nursing Center has had 7 COVID related deaths since the beginning of the pandemic. Their last COVID-19 related death was January 22nd.

Despite the outbreak, the Baptist Health Nursing Center say 90% of their residents and 50% of their staff have received the COVID-19 vaccine. Baptist Health Nursing Center Administrator Antonio Alotta says he is grateful the vulnerable population was selected first to get their shots.

“Well they are most susceptible, and they, unfortunately, have worst outcomes when it comes to the virus. So I’m glad they were prioritized first,” he said.

Shari Wilson is the daughter of Willie B. Quinn, who is a resident at the Baptist Health Nursing and Rehabilitation Center. She has not seen her mom in-person since last February.

“Its been quite challenging because I have not be able to visit with my mom at the nursing home which I understand because of the precautions,” she said.

Shari says hearing about the recent COVID-19 outbreak within the nursing home, she wanted to make sure her mom was safe.

“With the increasing number of COVID outbreaks, and the increasing number of positive cases, particularly with the staff members, who are in contact with the residents was scary to hear. So I certainly wanted to give her some level of precaution and safety,” she said.

Shari’s mom is non-verbal and she had to make the decision for her mom to get vaccinated or not.

“I had much skepticism and hesitancy at first about the vaccine. But overall my priority was her health, keeping her safe and alive,” she said.

Shari made the decision to go ahead and have her mom get both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.

“She is an elderly women with underlying medical conditions. So I want to of course prevent any further exposure or illness for her,” she said.

Up north at the Fort Hudson Health System in Fort Edward, 90% of their residents have received both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.  

“Overall I’m extraordinary pleased with the number of people vaccinated, and how smoothly it went,” said Andy Cruikshank, CEO of the Fort Hudson Health System.  

Cruikshank says recently they have also seen an increase of positive COVID-19 cases within in the nursing home. He says getting the shot to his residents was crucial.

“We’ve all been waiting for this day to move forward with our lives and the health and safety of our residents,” he said.

Antonia Alotta says hopefully the worst is behind us and the vaccine will show us better days ahead.

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