SAUK RAPIDS -- As efforts continue to make sure all residents in long-term care facilities get vaccinated for COVID-19, local nursing home staff are pleased with the progress being made.

Teresa Nathan is the Infection Preventionist for Good Shepherd Community in Sauk Rapids. She says thanks to their partnership with local pharmacies, they have completed vaccinating nearly 100% percent of their residents.

We're continue to work with our partnering pharmacies, but now that local pharmacies and some of the long-term care pharmacies are getting vaccine supply, we will also be working with them. Then we can schedule ongoing vaccinations so as new residents come into our facilities they can be vaccinated as well.

Nathan says they are still working to vaccinate staff. She adds in their latest round of vaccinations, they have also added family members who serve as essential care givers to some of their residents to make sure they are also protected.

Pharmacy chains like CVS Health and Walgreens are part of a large-scale effort to help vaccinate nearly 63,000 residents and staff at long-term care facilities across the state.

Jodi Speicher is the Vice President of Sales and Marketing. She says you can notice a difference on the faces of staff and residents since starting the vaccinations.

I think there is a sense of relief as things has eased up with the number of positive cases within the community at large. We're allowed to test not as frequently which has been a big relief, especially for our nursing staff, who have had to administer twice a week tests for a very long time.

Speicher says based on the current trends within the community they have been able to open up visitations which has been wonderful for the residents.

She adds they are thankful for the support from the community and patience from the families during this long year.

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