Senior living centers speed up vaccine rollout

Nearly 99% of facility received the shot
Published: Feb. 19, 2021 at 11:41 PM PST
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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - For more than a year things like the movie theatre, dining area, and common space have been closed to residents at Five Star Senior Living in Reno, but that is not the only thing COVID has taken away.

Jinny Hestmark, a resident at the Senior Living facility had not seen her family in more than a year as a result of this pandemic, but that changed quickly after she received her vaccine. This allowed her to finally see her granddaughter who already received the shot.

“It’s the first hug I have had in a year,” Hestmark explained.

Hestmark said most residents are living on their own and need social contact. She added the only time she was able to see her best friend Carol Sanger was when they would run getting their mail.

Sanger said getting the vaccine from Five Star Senior Living has been the best thing that has happened to her this year.

“I love being here because of the communication with people and not to have it, but now that the dining room is opening up I’m really happy about it,” Sanger said.

At the Senior Living facility, two clinics have taken place where nearly 99% of the 200 residents have been vaccinated. Patrick Ward, Five Star Senior Living Executive Director said he is happy to help take a weight off his residents’ shoulders

“We don’t drop the ball,” said Ward. “We make sure to try to educate and make sure they understand what we still have to do with the mask, sanitizing our hands constantly, and being careful.”

Residents are now allowed to have one to two visitors at a time. Starting March 1st, the dining room will be at 35% capacity and guests can now be in common areas while social distancing.

Pat Gates, another resident said she is still concerned about the vaccine distribution for other people as things seem to be delayed, but she said she’s ready to get back to doing what she loves.

“My husband and I were great cruisers,” said Gates. “I was able to finish my 63rd cruise, but I have had to cancel five so I’m ready to go to sea again.”

Whether it be getting back on a cruise ship or going to dine out at a restaurant again, residents are ready to resume their lives.

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