‘Now we can have visitors’: Things are turning around at Phenix City Health care and it’s all because of the COVID-19 vaccine

Coronavirus

PHENIX CITY, Ala. (WRBL) – COVID-19 waged war on Phenix City Health Care Nursing Home, leaving many residents in critical care and even some dead. But now staff says things are turning around because of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Phenix City Health care didn’t feel the effects of COVID-19 until the fall of 2020, according to nursing manager Morgan Currie. But once it did arrive, the virus spread quickly. Currie says they did everything they could to protect residents from the deadly outbreak.

“It spread very aggressively, I mean with COVID it’s hard,” Currie said “we did the best that we could and we were still monitoring symptoms and everything. Unfortunately, when it spreads, it spreads quickly.”

When COVID-19 made its mark in the nursing home, staff had to do what was best for their residents and stop all in person visitation. Currie said residents’ families were understanding and appreciative of this decision but as time passed the distance and isolation took a toll on residents and their families.

“There’s only so many facetimes and window visits you can do before you miss human contact,” Currie said.

Frazier Fowler moved his wife Virginia Benton Fowler into the nursing home in the middle of the pandemic. Mr. Fowler told News 3 placing his wife in the nursing home was a tough decision.

“It was the hardest thing that I ever done in my life, it was the hardest thing.”

After moving his wife into the nursing home Mr. Fowler said he was sad when he found out he couldn’t visit her in person and he could no longer hold her hand, but nursing staff found a temporary solution.

“They worked with us and I acquired another phone and we we’re able to come and talk to each other on the phone and through the window,” Mr. Fowler said.

Even though nursing staff was glad to do this type of visitation for residents and families, it became emotionally draining for staff.

“Its been physically and emotionally draining watching the socialized isolation, there’s only so many window visit you can do so it’s very emotional,” Currie said.

Now, that COVID-19 vaccines are here, things are turning around in the nursing home. The nursing home held a vaccination clinic and they were able to vaccinate 98% of their residents. As of April 5., 62% of nursing staff have received the vaccine as well.

Resident Council President Judy Craig said she’s glad everyone has gotten the vaccine because life was starting become dull inside of the nursing home.

“It was really boring, you know? Not having any company, always into the television.”

Craig told News 3 that she did enjoy watching Law and Order SVU, but she’s glad things are getting back to normal and she can have some fun again.

“Now we can have visitors! We play games, we play Bingo every Thursday and we spend the wheel and we have birthday parties, we do all kinds of things.” Craig said.

Mr.& Mrs. Fowler have both received their COVID-19 vaccine. News 3 asked the Fowlers how it feels to hold each others’ hands again.

“Wonderful, we’ve been holding hands for a little over 69 years now,” Mr. Fowler said.

“Wonderful, wonderful, his hands are colder than mine,” Mrs. Fowler said.

Even though almost everyone inside of the nursing home has received the vaccine, they are still following CDC guidelines and asking everyone to wear a mask.

“I am so thankful for our family, for the love, prayer and support that they’ve given us during this time. I really want to thank our staff for their endless love and their selfless sacrifice and their dedication to care for residents,” Currie said.

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