RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — While the number of cases and deaths at nursing homes in our state has declined, it’s important to note how many there still are. According to the latest data, there are 9,076 cases and 716 deaths.
While vaccinations have helped, outbreaks persist. According to the state’s latest numbers, almost 73 percent of those 65 and older are at least partially vaccinated. Still, 148 nursing homes in North Carolina currently have an outbreak.
CBS 17 caught up with Dana Hardwick as she celebrated her 79th birthday Wednesday evening. Her family came together in the parking lot of her senior living facility, the Oaks at Whitaker Glen.
“I love getting together with family… We get together some but usually not all of us,” Dana Hardwick said.
None of her family has been allowed inside the building she calls home for more than a year.
“We usually watch Carolina basketball games together and you know we like to go and sit out at the PR and have a burger,” Alex MacKethan, her nephew said.
Hardwick has been fully vaccinated, most of her family has been too.
“We do have less, a lower death rate now, in many of them and that’s because of the good work that’s been done to vaccinate both the residents and the staff that choose to be,” Nancy Ruffner who owns Navigate NC said.
Ruffner is a patient advocate, helping families find the right fit for their loved one.
She admits getting employees at these homes vaccinated remains a challenge. Recent data from the CDC shows only half of them have been inoculated through a federal program.
“I want them to want it… I wish more people would think about those other than themselves,” Ruffner said.
“Got to think of the bigger picture, and the people you’re living with and taking care of,” MacKethan said.