Families hold out hope as local care homes await COVID-19 vaccine

Published: Dec. 29, 2020 at 6:12 PM EST
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - Talking through a window. Having a drive-by parade. Even meeting through a distance outside. It’s not nearly enough connection for the Taggett family.

“I miss hugging her. I miss being able to embrace her. I’ll definitely be glad when I can grab my mom again,” Theresa Taggett said.

Daughter Theresa and granddaughter Chikeria have watched COVID-19 create a void they haven’t quite been able to fill for their loved one 75-year-old Julia.

The Pruitt Health resident tested positive twice now for COVID-19, once in August, and again in December.

“No symptoms at all and she continued to be in good spirits and she’s in good spirits now,” Chikeria Hurst said.

They call it a miracle considering she has COPD, an inflammatory lung disease.

Plus, the elderly population makes up many of Augusta’s severe COVID-19 cases.

“It’s really scary because she already has a hard time breathing so something like that, we felt if she contacted it, then potentially it could be devastating,” Hurst said.

With nearly half of Georgia’s positive cases coming from nursing homes by summer and more than 100 COVID-19 deaths across Augusta-area care facilities as of Monday, families like Julia’s are eager for the vaccine rollout.

We checked our local facilities who say they’re still waiting on exact dates. But when the doses come, it’ll be through partnerships with CVS and Walgreen pharmacies administering shots.

“...she’s getting ready to turn 76, that’s a whole big milestone. So yeah, she needs it first,” Hurst said.

The state says doses will be headed to Georgia’s more than 600 care facilities in the coming weeks.

First to staff then to residents

Despite specific schedules not being set yet for all of our local sites, families like this argue there’s at least a timeline of hope.

“That encouragement in these tough times to let them know, it’s OK. And we’re still going to be here at the end of this thing when it’s all over,” Hurst said.

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