North Texas long-term care facilities taking steps to get back to normal as COVID-19 vaccinations increase

People living in long-term care facilities are part of the most vulnerable population when it comes to the coronavirus. 

In Dallas County, the number of active outbreaks and deaths are seeing a significant decline. 

More than 600 people living in nursing homes died from COVID-19 in Dallas County. That’s 22% of all deaths.  

But as vaccinations increase, so does the protection for people in long-term care facilities. 

More than 5,000 nursing home residents and staff have tested positive for COVID-19 in Dallas County since the start of the pandemic, and nearly 1,000 of those residents have been hospitalized. 

"Unfortunately, with residents that tested positive, we did have a few pass away," said Nancy Sanders, executive director for Belmont Village Turtle Creek.

It’s been a long year for care facilities, but things are changing. 

At Belmont Village Turtle Creek in Dallas, 99% of all residents are fully vaccinated and 90% of staff. 

With the long-term care facility being fully vaccinated, Sanders says it allows them to take some steps back to having a normal community atmosphere. 

"With that gift of immunity in the community, we are able to start ramping up a flashback to before COVID, so we can now start bring life back in the community," Sanders explained. "We are still observing all the protocols that have been recommended through the CDC, but we are able to now to enjoy some more openness as far as activity attendance. Those thing really make a difference."