Homestead Assisted Living residents and staff fully vaccinated, no longer need masks

Published: Oct. 13, 2021 at 6:30 PM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - In six weeks, 13 of the 37 residents at The Homestead of Topeka Assisted Living Center passed away from COVID-19.

Executive Director Susan Bullock said, “We had some that just didn’t have the information. For instance, I had some staff that didn’t think they could afford the vaccine and they could not believe that it was paid for by the government.”

They had their first positive COVID-19 case in the first week of November.

Bullock said at first they didn’t know anybody who had COVID, then they knew lots of people who had it, and then watched people die every day.

She said they needed to way to get out from under it and get the staff and residents vaccinated. But they were skeptical.

“I guess the good thing is that for some of our folks passing away from COVID is not as painful as it is for younger folks but for us, we might have 5-6 deaths a year and we had 13 in 6 weeks and it about killed us.”

11 months later on Wednesday morning, she made the announcement they no longer needed to wear masks because 100% of the staff and residents were 100% vaccinated from COVID-19. Now the residents can recognize who they are, staff can care for the residents without fear, and the families of the residents can feel more comfortable.

“We had a lot of things to overcome but eventually all the residents, most of the resident families, all of the staff, and most of their families have chosen to get vaccinated. Nobody wants to be the one to bring it in here when everybody else knows it wasn’t them.”

That it’s like a little bit of 4th of July for everyone.

“it was really hard to come to work, it was really hard to explain to our residents why there weren’t people at their dining room table. It was hard for us to look the world in the eye and so having today come from that — that cloud is not on us anymore and that feels fantastic.”

KDHE’s website shows there are 53 active clusters and have been 21 deaths in long-term care facilities in the state in the last 14 days. In Shawnee County, The Legacy on 10th Avenue is the only long-term care facility cluster with 10 cases in the last 14 days.

Homestead Assisted Living is now giving residents their booster shot

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