Hope is on the horizon for residents in long-term care facilities. According to the Oklahoma State Department of Health, the infection rate for COVID-19 in long-term care facilities is going down.
“We really are entering a stretch of time where the state stabilization in long-term care is occurring. Vaccinations have done very well for our residents and we feel very good about this moment,” Steven Buck, the CEO and President of Oklahoma Care Providers said.
In Oklahoma, more than half of long-term care residents have gotten at least one dose of the vaccine.
Buck said in Oklahoma County more providers can do lobby visitations.
“Guests can come into the building, into the lobby and have a distant interaction in the lobby,” he said.
“There is a lot of benefit from being able to see those close to you, psychosocial, emotional benefits, and psychological benefits,” Katy Woodard, the Administrator at Medical Park West said.
Most of her residents are vaccinated and all of them are COVID-19 free. She works in Cleveland County; which state health officials say is at a moderate risk for COVID-19.
“Visits are mostly virtual and window visitation is what’s allowed. There are some exceptions to that when it comes to compassionate care,” said the administrator.
Buck said as Oklahoma works toward expanding visitation for everyone, they should brace themselves for what he calls the new normal.
“It is realistic to think that any visitors from this point forward are required to wear PPE. They will be required to distance; they will have to go through a health screening when they arrive. Those are going to be the new normal that we wrestle with,” he said.
While the situation is improving, he is also looking toward state leaders for things like additional PPE and expanded rapid testing.