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Welty Home Residents, Staff Test Negative for COVID-19

Seated, from left, are residents Dr. Henry Kettler, Avis Linger and George Bridges. Standing, from left, are Teresa Aston, personal care aide; Suzie Dailer, RN, director of nursing; David Callihan, activities aide; and Grayson Speaker, activities aide.

WHEELING – The 45 residents living at The Welty Home of Wheeling and 40 staff all tested negative for COVID-19 recently.

Welty Home Manager Tess Gaudino thanked her staff for helping to keep everyone healthy.

“Their diligence in wearing masks, washing their hands and taking other precautions is working,” she said. “I know that they have made sacrifices in their personal lives, staying home and avoiding other people, to be sure they didn’t bring any infection into the Welty Home.”

The decision to restrict visitors early in March was difficult for residents and families, she said, but it has served to protect residents.

“The families of our residents have been very understanding,” Gaudino said. “They know we’re doing everything we can to protect their loved ones.”

Banning visitors and even packages was a necessary step, she said, considering that more than 40% of U.S. deaths from COVID-19 have occurred in nursing homes or assisted living facilities.

“We are very fortunate that the senior residences in our area are free of the virus,” she said.

Welty has augmented its daily activities to keep residents engaged and happy. The Welty activities staff conducts exercise classes, newspaper reading, reminiscing sessions, baking, cards, bingo, bunco and many other activities.

Daily Mass is celebrated in the Welty Home chapel, and residents enjoy three fresh-cooked meals and snacks every day. Residents can take advantage of in-house physical therapy services and a hair salon on site. While field trips and excursions have been postponed, there are lots of parties and special events, Mrs Gaudino said.

Welty Home is also still accepting new admissions.

“We have rooms available now,” Gaudino said.

She said she’s uncertain when the visitation ban will be lifted, since Gov. Jim Justice has the sole authority to ease restrictions at nursing homes and assisted living facilities. Until then, she said, Welty staff and residents will continue to make the best of a difficult situation.

“We don’t know when we will be able to welcome visitors again,” she said.

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