Kannapolis assisted living facility reaches 100% vaccination rate in both staff and residents

Published: Aug. 18, 2021 at 5:58 PM EDT
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KANNAPOLIS, N.C. (WBTV) - Congregate care facilities made frequent headlines in the beginning of the pandemic because of its high vulnerability to COVID-19.

According to Mecklenburg County Public Health data, there were 62 outbreaks at the beginning of February in long-term care facilities within the county.

Outbreaks in these settings dropped to just 3 at the beginning of July but have since ticked back up to 16 outbreaks this month.

Still, deaths related to these outbreaks have dropped significantly.

There were 152 deaths linked to the 62 outbreaks at the beginning of February.

So far, no deaths have been reported in the 16 outbreaks in congregate care facilities this month, according to county data.

The decrease in severity and frequency of these outbreaks could be a testament to vaccination rates and protocols still in place at long-term care facilities.

For example, The Landings of Cabarrus in Kannapolis reached a 100 percent vaccination rate in both staff and residents in April.

Executive Director Debbie Hummel says she is thankful they have not experienced an outbreak or a COVID-related death in the assisted living facility since the pandemic began.

Despite the vaccination rates, Hummel says staff members are still tested for COVID-19 weekly, they are still required to wear masks, and required to report any symptoms they experience.

Hummel says residents are also encouraged to wear masks and social distance.

“It’s for peace of mind for the families, residents, and the staff as well, that the possibility of bringing COVID into the facility is lower because everybody is vaccinated,” Hummel said.

Residents and staff are doing what they can to keep the inside of the facility safe, but they cannot control what happens on the outside. Resident DeChantal Early is worried the increase in cases will reverse the progress they’ve made.

“It feels like we’re going backward, and it feels like we might get trapped back in buildings again,” Early said. “I can’t wait for this thing to be over. I thought we would get to a point where we could move around even more than we are now. So, this is extremely upsetting to me.”

Early hopes more people will get vaccinated, so her in-person visits with family are not jeopardized. She also hopes to be able to venture outside the facility more frequently.

“I understand why people are somewhat afraid, but I wish they would do what is necessary so we can move further on, and we can get back to our living conditions,” Early said.

“Vaccinations work and we’re proof of that,” Hummel said.

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