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COVID-19 cases drop in long-term care facilities, safety protocols stay priority

Data shows COVID-19 outbreaks in long-term care facilities trending downward, but workers there say they will not stop safety protocols.

With more people now eligible for the vaccine, First Coast News wanted to check in with some of the first people who got it.

Residents and workers at nursing homes and long-term care facilities have been getting vaccinated since mid-December. Data shows COVID-19 outbreaks in long-term care facilities trending downward, but workers at the facilities say they will not stop safety protocols.

"We are still operating as from 'day one,'" said Jamie Glavich, owner of Almost Home Senior Services.

First Coast News first talked with Glavich in December before anyone had been vaccinated. She said everyone had been living "on edge."

It's now been one week since all but a few of Glavich's 35 residents at her three assisted living facilities got their second doses. 

"Which made me feel so relieved so we can keep moving forward and hopefully open the doors a little bit more for visitations," she said. "Right now we're still asking families to be aware of wearing masks and even doubling masks at times."

According to the Covid Tracking Project at The Atlantic, less than one percent of America's population lives in long-term care facilities yet they account for 35 percent of coronavirus deaths. By week, their data shows the number of outbreaks in facilities declining since January 21 with spikes the two weeks after Christmas.

Glavich has had family members die from COVID-19 and will not let up on safety protocols.

"We're hoping because the vaccine we are seeing the light a little bit," Glavich said. "I feel more protected in that the people in my care are not gonna get as sick if they do contract covid now. That it's not gonna be so deadly, that's what is bringing a lot of hope right now. That's what you keep hearing, if you have the vaccine it's gonna keep out of the hospital. So that's a good thing."

She says her facilities are still struggling with the financial cost of the pandemic.

"You never thought of paying for gloves before," Glavich said. "Now you're going 'oh my God they're four times as much for a box' and you can't not use them."

Florida has nearly 4,000 long-term care facilities. Read more data on declining case numbers in the facilities from the Kaiser Family Foundation here.

RELATED: VERIFY: No evidence yet to suggest COVID-19 vaccine is leading to nursing home deaths

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