SAN RAFAEL, Calif. - Newly released data in Marin County shows how vaccinations are having an impact at long-term care centers.
Health officials say the number of virus cases has dropped significantly after the residents and staff received their second vaccinations.
"The vaccine works and it saves lives. Those are the two headlines I see here," said county health officer Dr. Lisa Santora.
At The Redwoods, a skilled residential care facility in Mill Valley, almost all of the residents who live there — about 150 people — have received their second dose.
Statistics show that COVID cases in skilled nursing and residential care facilities dropped by more than 10-fold between January and February, down to only four active cases with no outbreaks.
"After that second dose was received by staff and residents we saw a major drop-off in the number of cases experienced that these facilities by the end of January," said Santora.
The Redwoods was among the first facilities in Marin County to administer vaccinations. And health officials said so far they are relieved by the vaccine's success.
"The staff, I can tell you, can sleep a little better. We are breathing a sigh of relief. We can see the light at the end of the tunnel," said the facility's administrator Catherine Scott.
Nursing home advocates applaud the findings but said the next step must be to allow family members to visit their loved ones.
"We are advocating for families and the state to start thinking ahead about what life is going to look like as vaccination progresses," said Mike Dark, of California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform.
"It is going to be challenging in the next couple of months to make that bridge between those who aren't vaccinated and visiting their family members," said Santora.
Seniors residents said they just want to be with family and friends again
"Not being able to give a hug. I was never a hugger until I realized I am a hugger," says 88-year-old resident Bob Crockett.