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VNA nurses bring vaccine to seniors

800 doses distributed over year

A unit of nurses from Visiting Nurses Association of Western Pennsylvania has administered about 800 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to homebound citizens over the course of one year.

Margie Walsh, executive director of the VNA, said the staff of Lutheran SeniorLife started traveling to senior’s homes and senior living communities in Butler County and some of the surrounding counties when the vaccine first became available to vulnerable people.

The number of vaccines the staff has distributed per day and per week was large when the nurses started the service, and Walsh said the volume has risen again with the rise of the omicron variant.

“We did a lot at first, some days we would have two or three nurses going out,” Walsh said. “We were doing up to 15 or so a day at the very beginning when nobody could get out, then it kind of tapered out. Then the delta variant hit and omicron hit and we started getting a lot more requests, so now we're busy again with people wanting that booster.”

The staff of Lutheran SeniorLife cooperates with Butler Health System and the Butler County Agency on Aging to find people who can’t get to a vaccine supplier outside their home, and get doses of the vaccine to give to them. Walsh also said the staff keeps track of the necessary paperwork to report vaccine distribution to the state, but their involvement in reporting numbers ends there.

Cases up at BMH

Butler Memorial Hospital reported one death related to COVID-19 Jan. 11, and three deaths related to COVID-19 Jan. 12.

Additionally, the hospital reported Thursday that it had 64 COVID-19 patients with seven in the Intensive Care Unit, which is one of the highest patient counts the hospital has had in months.

The Pennsylvania Department of Health reported Thursday that Butler County has 373 new positive COVID-19 cases, bringing the total positive case number in the county to 27,550. The county also has a total of 642 deaths attributed to COVID-19 complications.

Pennsylvania has a total of 2,375,071 COVID-19 cases, and 38,253 deaths from the virus as of Jan. 13.