One Lexington nursing home is raising spirits, not coronavirus case numbers

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – Sayre Christian Village in Lexington so far, hasn’t had any positive coronavirus cases, but it’s trying to boost positivity in its community.

Nursing assistants and other staff at Sayre say they feel even more essential now, becoming the family inside when daughters and granddaughters have to stay outside.

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“They’re family. They’re not residents that’s for sure,” nursing assistant Valencia Hernandez said. 

For Melissa vanHouten her family’s’ “Granny” is one of the seniors living at Sayre. Meaning now instead of hugs during visits it’s phone calls and waves through the window.

“We had a hard time just seeing her through the window,” she said. “We wanted to give her a hug.”

Sayre CEO, Karen Venis, said it was touching that on Thursday at the Governor’s daily update Dr. Steven Stack recognized the hard work of nursing homes during this time.

”We’re doing the best that we can to take care of the loved ones here,” Venis said.

VanHouten says she finds comfort in the positivity at Sayre.

“They had a parade, and Granny was out there cheering them on,” she said. “You know, they keep them entertained.”

Something to help keep your mind off the possibility of losing any loved ones.

“I just can’t imagine that. I know when I get to see her again I’ll be giving her a big hug and bringing her all the ice cream she wants,” VanHouten said.

As of the governor’s Friday update, 141 people living in long term facilities and 86 people working in them have been diagnosed with coronavirus.

18 deaths in the state have come from people in long term care.

According to the governor’s team a couple senior communities have been overwhelmed and have called on the state to evacuate people and help keep the virus from spreading even more.

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Monica Harkins joined the ABC 36 News team in June 2019 as a Multimedia journalist and Anchor/Producer. She’s born and raised in Austin, Texas and headed “North,” as she calls it, to study broadcast journalism and business at the University of Missouri. While at Mizzou she anchored and reported for KOMU 8 News, an NBC affiliate in Columbia, Missouri all four years. During her childhood she played almost every sport, but they always called her “Hollywood” for her love of theatre. In high school, she realized her excitement for theatre and performing was only a small piece of the puzzle. It’s story telling that’s her passion. She’s especially passionate about social media and creative platforms to tell stories. Her most recent experiment is being a FAA certified drone pilot. As a proud Texan she says she’s made of country music, Southern hospitality and Sweet Tea. When she’s not at work you can find her trying new recipes, listening to crime podcasts, reading the latest romance novel or rockin’ out to live music with friends. She says she’s only a tweet or Facebook message away, so say hi and send her the latest on your community. @MonicaHarkinstv or Mharkins@wtvq.com