“We’re covid-free here” Silver Birch Assisted Living relaxes COVID-19 policies as endemic sets in – WTHITV.com

Silver Birch Assisted Living

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) – As COVID-19 numbers drop, some nursing homes are giving residents a little more freedom.

One local facility is loosening restrictions but keeping some in place to be safe.

Silver Birch in Terre Haute says it are now covid-free.

That has allowed the facility to let residents do different activities and lift a weight off the staff’s shoulders.

Things have not been this easy for staff, and residents at Silver Birch Assisted Living in Terre Haute. Just ask Silver Birch’s director of nursing Billie Schulze. She will tell you now that COVID-19 is slowing down. Everyone realizes how burnt out they were.

“I think once you let off the gas, reality sets in. In the beginning, you’re just trucking through. This is what we do on a daily basis. And then, when it starts easing up, you’re exhausted, you’re mentally exhausted,” Schulze said.

She said it has been a tiring two years managing the pandemic in a senior living facility.

Now, some restrictions are loosening. Residents can now eat together, which was not always allowed. Social distancing is relaxed.Larger groups are now allowed to visit, and guests check-in before going inside and before they are allowed to walk the facility’s halls.

Silver Birch Executive Director, Jill Stott, said that things would continue to look normal as long as they continue masking and practicing basic sanitary measures.

“As long as we, you know, still continue to screen and still wear the masks and social distance, we can still do those things now,” Stott said.

However, things have not always been this simple.

“We don’t have to stay on them so much like we do back then. We would have to gear up in PPE if we went into a rooms if they had a slight sniffle,” said Schulze.

Stott says Silver Birch has been fortunate the last two years.

With a 98% vaccination rate and not a single COVID-19 case in the building, leaders feel better than ever.

“We have had a few cases through this whole pandemic, but you can count them on one hand,” Stott said.

The staff at Silver Birch told News 10 that one of their biggest struggles is helping people understand the mask mandate at their facility.

Leaders said even though it has been lifted statewide and relaxed by the CDC, they will still mandate masks for residents and guests.