When Elderwood at Waverly announced its 49th recovery from COVID-19 on July 26, it crossed off the final case of the virus in the facility.

It had been a challenging few months, especially with Elderwood’s highly susceptible population, but “our staff has worked diligently over the many weeks,” said Chuck Hayes, Elderwood’s vice president of marketing and communications.

As residents tested positive, Hayes said they were placed in isolation where they could be kept comfortable and monitored closely by staff, who were in full personal protective equipment.

“We really worked hard to try and prevent any further transmission of the virus to any other residents or staff,” Hayes explained. “But as I’m sure you’re aware, we’re dealing with a virus that is extremely transmissible.”

Of Tioga County’s 25 coronavirus-related deaths, 22 were residents at the facility, according to the county’s Department of Public Health.

In May, Executive Director Maria Landy said many seniors, including those in palliative care, chose to remain at Elderwood when they were diagnosed

“Overwhelmingly, they wanted to remain with their caregivers and the people that they knew in the place that they called home,” she said. “They chose to work under the palliative care programs and pass away here with people that they knew and they loved.”

Hayes noted that Elderwood hadn’t had a new case in quite some time before the virus was eradicated from the facility.

Part of the prevention effort included comprehensive COVID-19 testing in partnership with Guthrie on more than one occasion, which Hayes said was important so they could identify any emerging cases and isolate those residents before the virus could spread further — especially if they were asymptomatic.

“It’s important to know that the pandemic and the threat it poses is not over, but for today we give thanks for the health of our residents and the amazing recoveries of those who were affected by the virus,” Hayes said.

The Tioga County Department of Public Health, which has in part been reporting on Elderwood’s progress along the way, praised the care organization last Friday with a reposting of its victory video.

“We want to commend and thank all of the hardworking and dedicated staff at Elderwood who have worked tirelessly for the past couple of months caring for their residents,” officials said.

In line with New York state’s direction, Elderwood at Waverly will have to remain COVID-19 free for a few more weeks before limited visitation can resume on August 23. Residents have been able to take advantage of iPads and other devices in order to connect virtually with their families.

Ryan Sharp can be reached at rsharp@morning-times.com or (570) 888-9463 ext. 231. Follow @RealRyanSharp on Twitter.

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