La Crosse seniors get the COVID-19 vaccine for a “shot” at a family reunion

All 83 residents at Bethany St. Joseph Care Center volunteered to be vaccinated

LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT)- Bethany St. Joseph Care Center is taking a huge step forward in the fight against COVID-19.  All 83 of its residents volunteered to be vaccinated for themselves and their families. 

It’s hard to sit back and watch life go by. Its even harder when you’re watching through a window.  Sarahann Jones hasn’t hugged a loved one since the start of the pandemic.  Like residential care centers around the country, Bethany St. Joseph stopped letting most visitors inside.  A pandemic precaution to protect seniors from a virus that can be deadly. 

Sarahann’s children and grandchildren come for window visits. The inch of glass between them has done little for Sarahann’s lonely heart.  “I want to be amongst my family”, the 84 year old tells News 8 Now. 

Across the hall, another window and more window “pain”. “Its not the same. Sometimes it makes it a little harder. My daughter’s husband died since this has all began and I feel really bad I haven’t been there for her.”, says Anna Thill.

Staff are doing all they can to keep residents from being isolated. Residents are too.  All 83 volunteered to be vaccinated for COVID-19. Their “shot” at reuniting with loved ones.  “I’m glad I got it, because now maybe my family can come.”, says Jones.

Hugs and kisses are likely months away.  That’s close enough for this women, and something to look to forward to.  

Children are still not allowed in Bethany St. Joseph Care Center, but staff are allowing some adult family members on a case by case basis. They are asked to sit 6 feet apart.