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Lincoln nursing home facilities requiring staff to be vaccinated

Published: Aug. 18, 2021 at 10:48 PM CDT
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - Ahead of a major announcement from the White House, some area nursing home facilities said they’re already requiring all staff members to have the COVID-19 shot this fall.

President Joe Biden announced Wednesday afternoon that this needs to happen everywhere or places risk losing federal reimbursements from Medicaid and Medicare.

Sumner Place and Tabitha announced Wednesday that staff members must be vaccinated no later than the end of October. However, there are medical and religious exemptions.

One administrator 10/11 NOW spoke with said this decision is just one more step in helping prevent this deadly disease.

Sumner Place is a skilled nursing facility located on South 20th Street. Alex Willford has worked in long-term care for 36 years. He said it didn’t take long in deciding to require vaccines for staff members.

“It’s no fun to have to put residents in quarantine,” said Alex Willford. “It’s no fun to have to test your employees all the time and the more we can do with mandatory vaccinations will help hopefully eliminate those challenges we face.”

Willford said there are currently no COVID cases at the facility. He said the residents are almost 100% vaccinated. He doesn’t have an exact figure for staff, but says a great percentage already are vaccinated. They test those vaccinated weekly and twice a week for those unvaccinated.

President Biden is also requiring nursing home staff members to be vaccinated though the deadline isn’t clear just yet.

“More than 130,000 residents in nursing homes have sadly over the period of this virus passed away,” said President Biden.

With the risk dial moving up from the yellow to the orange in Lancaster County, Willford has a message.

“Please, please, please get vaccinated,” said Willford.

According to federal data, hundreds of thousands of nursing home workers are unvaccinated, but at Sumner Place they’re not worried. Willford said they’ve had very few negative responses from staff members about being vaccinated.

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