Butler County LTC facilities receive COVID-19 vaccine, virus activity increases in area

Judy Otto, Assisted Living Manager in Allison, received the COVID-19 vaccine last week. (Submitted photo)
Travis Fischer
Eclipse News-Review

More Butler County long term care facilities received their first wave of COVID-19 vaccination last week.

On Tuesday, January 12, Clarksville Skilled Nursing and Rehabilitation Center received their first round of the COVID-19 vaccination.

Though the first round of vaccines has been given out, that doesn't mean the long term care facility will be letting their guard down. Public health measures will continue to remain in place until the spread of the virus no longer represents a danger to staff or residents.

"Even though the residents and some of our staff were vaccinated, we will continue our current infection control practices and mitigation procedures," said Administrator Heather Sells.

Sells hopes to see vaccination participation increase during the second round of clinics once employees see how the first round went and is encouraging everybody to get vaccinated at their earliest opportunity.

"Like many, I want to go back to some sense of normalcy sooner rather than later," said Sells. "I want our families to be able to enter the nursing home and assisted living and not be required to schedule an appointment."

Meanwhile, the first round of vaccinations at the Rehabilitation Center of Allison comes at an unfortunate time as the facility is in the midst of a COVID-19 outbreak. On January 13, ABCM Corporation confirmed 17 residents and four staff testing positive for the virus. Several have recovered since then, though the facility still remains in outbreak status with 14 positive residents separated into the COVID halls and one employee still self-isolating at home. 

"We are working closely with our Medical Director, Dr. Bochmann, Jennifer Becker with Butler County Public Health, and personnel from ABCM Corporation to ensure we are taking all steps needed for the safety of our residents and staff," said Lisa Youngblut, Rehabilitation Center of Allison Administrator. "Our focus, as always, continues to remain on our residents and providing the best care possible."

Nevertheless, the long term care facility went through with their first round of vaccination distribution on Friday, January 15.

"Very early in the process, we partnered with CVS/Omnicare for vaccines to be administered via the Pharmacy Provider Vaccination Program as they already service several of our locations for pharmacy and consulting services," said Alexa Mayner, ABCM Corporation Chief Operating Officer.

Long term care staff and residents are receiving the Pfizner COVID-19 vaccine, which was the first of the two vaccines approved by the FDA for distribution. The vaccine consists of two doses, which must be taken three weeks apart.

For the staff in Allison, receiving the long awaited vaccine was a morale boosting event, marking what they hope will be the beginning of the end of the pandemic after a very long year.

"I believe being able to complete our first COVID-19 vaccination clinic at the Rehabilitation Center of Allison last Friday means more to us than most will ever know or understand," said Youngblut, Administrator at the Rehabilitation Center of Allison. "A lot of tears have been shed here at the care center. Long days, long nights, as well as many months of family and self-sacrifices have been made. Residents haven’t been able to hug their families in almost a year."

Like Sells, Youngblut is eager for the vaccine to spread to the greater population, allowing an eventual return to the normalcy of pre-pandemic life.

"We must all take this step when it is our turn in order to reclaim our lives and give back to the residents and their families what they’ve had taken from them for so long now," said Youngblut. "As community members, families, and friends, it is up to you to do your duty as well. We cannot win this battle alone.”

As of Monday, January 18, a total of 1,468 cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in the county, increasing the county total from the week prior by 63, bringing the rate of new cases back down after a large spike in the week before.

Still, with 1,189 cases considered recovered by the state, there are currently 255 active cases in the county, continuing the increase in active cases that began a week ago.

An additional COVID-19 related death has also been reported by the state, bringing the county total to 24.

In Butler County, 5,964 individuals have been tested at some point during the pandemic, with a total of 20,144 tests performed on Butler County residents overall. In the last 14 days, 18.2% of individuals tested have been positive for the virus, a slight decrease in the positivity rate from the previous week. 



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