COVID’s a constant, but not an emergency anymore, at county senior centers


On Monday, President Joe Biden officially put an end to the three-year U.S. national emergency to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, when he signed a bipartisan congressional resolution — weeks before it was set to expire alongside a separate public health emergency.

For some seniors, though, COVID will always be a part of their lives and routine.

At Wednesday’s Wood County Committee on Aging meeting, the board officially ended pandemic protocols.

“With vaccinations, with COVID not being as the same veracity as it was when this was written, I would recommend that it be rescinded,” said Denise Niese, director of the committee on aging. “We’ll keep it in the files, should we have to reinstate it at a later time.”

It was clear from the discussion, however, that COVID will continue to be part of the conversation at the eight senior centers in the county.

Niese said that the Northeast center in Walbridge had to be closed for a few days the first week of April due to an outbreak.

“I would compare it to influenza, because there have been times that we have had to close sites because of outbreaks of the annual flu,” she said after the meeting. “I won’t say COVID is routine. COVID is with us, and we’re just going to have to be aware.”

She said she routinely calls the health commissioner for advice.

Niese also reported Wednesday that she is purchasing a new temperature kiosk to replace the broken one in the main senior center lobby. It costs $765.

She said that people are used to it and have become accustomed to having their temperature taken when they enter — if they want.

“It kind of is a safety factor for us,” Niese said. “It’s not required. … I want to make sure those folks coming into the sites are comfortable. And if those sites want to take temps, so be it.

“You’re always looking at best practices for any organization you’re in, and that has become a best practice for our folks.”

Niese, though, asked the board on Wednesday to formally drop the pandemic protocols.

The board last revisited the COVID policy this time last year, when members voted to end a mask mandate.

Also at the meeting, the board heard that the adult daycare facility in the Wood County Senior Center may be open in June.

“The funds that they are waiting for were earmarked for adult daycares throughout the state,” Niese said.

The American Rescue Plan Act funds will be distributed through the state, she said. There is $8 million that can be given to adult daycares in Ohio, Niese said.

The money is geared to start up and re-start adult daycares that were shut down during the pandemic.

About 50% of Ohio’s adult daycare facilities have closed, Niese said.

No posts to display