‘You have to trust the vaccine’

Anderson Countians are on the verge of relaxing some COVID protocols

Much has changed since Sunday, April 12, 2020 — Easter 2020 — and there is a sense of optimism that the COVID-19 pandemic may be lessening its grip on our lives.

But there is also a sense that now is not the time to forget safety protocols.

Not yet, anyway.

Cherie Turner Phillips said the Anderson County Senior Citizens Center will remain closed until at least May 1.

“More people will have vaccines and we’ll have more of an idea of what we’re dealing with when it comes to COVID,” she said.

While the Anderson County Office on Aging has stayed busy during the pandemic, the senior center has been quiet — and quite busy.

Phillips said the Office on Aging has continued to provide services for seniors. The concept of having larger groups congregate is still not a decision she’s been willing to undertake.

“We’ve lost so many seniors as it is,” Phillips said. “I don’t think I could live with myself if we opened our doors and then some of our seniors contracted COVID. I know it’s been hard on a lot of them, but if we can hang on just a little bit longer.”

Phillips said she was reminded the virus is still dangerous by seeing spikes reported in states that had large “spring break” gatherings. She said she’s not worried so much about the seniors spreading COVID — a large number of whom have been vaccinated, — but is worried about those who don’t have vaccines yet and may spread it unknowingly.

For assisted living facilities there is a fine line to walk.

Pam Forgety, Director of Meadowview Assisted Living in Clinton, says she is, “Very hesitant to turn lose.”

Forgety noted that 100-percent of the residents have received their second dose of vaccinations and the facility still monitors residents, staff, and visitors, but the time is coming — and soon — when the safety of the residents will fall to the families.

“We’ve protected them (the residents) for a year,” she said. “Now it’s the family’s time.”

By that she means vaccinations.

Forgety said they will begin letting families gather if they can show proof of vaccinations.

Like many who work with the most vulnerable of our citizens, COVID protocols have proven to save lives and relaxing those protocols too soon is not a mistake they want to make.

“We were very fortunate,” Forgety said. “We will still monitor and we will still care for our residents. We want them to be able to enjoy their families, but that responsibility is going to start shifting to the families.

“You have to trust the vaccine,” she said. “That’s why we have them.