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Positive outlook for North Dakota nursing homes as resident vaccinations near 90 percent

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At the worst point of the pandemic, those in long-term care facilities were some of the most vulnerable to the virus, because of age and the congregate living setting.

Now more than a year since COVID-19 came to North Dakota, there are just six reported positive cases of residents in nursing homes across the state, according to Chris Larson, who chairs the Reuniting Residents and Families Task Force.

Larson shared a positive outlook for the 218 long-term care facilities in North Dakota. He says vaccination rates of residents are nearing 90 percent with staff at 50 percent. During the pandemic’s peak in November, he says there were about 1,500 positive COVID-19 cases among residents and staff, and today, there are just over 30.

While Larson says we’re not out of the woods yet, he is optimistic that with new federal guidelines allowing for indoor visitation, nursing homes could be normal soon.

“This has been a pandemic that has been hard on every single one of us. I’ve talked to families. Many families who I’ve now become close friends with. I feel the pain, I’ve heard the pain, I see the pain, but I think we’re now at a point where we’re going to see some normalcy back at our nursing homes,” Larson said.

So far, Larson says 886 residents in long term care have died with the coronavirus.

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