ASHBURN, Va. — A sense of normal has finally returned to a Loudoun County senior living community after 98% of its residents recently received COVID-19 vaccinations.
Ashby Ponds, which is home to 1,665 senior citizens, conducted 11 different health clinics around its campus with CVS to make sure everyone who wanted a vaccine received one.
Executive Director Will Nance told WUSA9 on Thursday that the vaccinations finally brought some peace to staff after they worked to keep residents healthy and safe over the past year.
"We’ve been living this full year in fear of covid being brought into the campus," explained Nance, who said special concierge teams offered deliveries to residents' homes to avoid them having to go out in public and possibly expose themselves to the virus. "It was a whole new process of cooking, packaging, and getting food delivered."
With almost the entire senior population vaccinated in the Ashby Ponds community, Nance said amenities and events could once again return after being put on hold due to the pandemic.
"We’re way past herd immunity," he said, adding that everyone on campus will still follow social distancing and mask guidelines. "The chances of anyone contracting covid and becoming seriously ill have virtually disappeared. We’re just excited to have that bubble of protection over all of our residents.”
The success of the vaccination effort led to fireworks lighting up the sky over the community this week.
Erickson Living, which manages the property, also sent WUSA9 a video of two residents who recently visited their family after receiving the vaccine and finally got to hug them.
Carol and Judd Walton, who have been married for over 60 years and live at Ashby Ponds, said on Thursday that they were also looking forward to seeing their children and grandchildren.
"We can’t wait to hug them!” Carol said. "We’re a hugging family so it will all be nice.”
For the couple, the vaccine brought plenty of relief after they spent many days over the past year indoors and away from others.
"It’s been a long time since we’ve had everybody together," Judd said. "We’re trying to get something lined up down the road so we can plan on getting together.”
"For me, I felt like I could breathe out for once in a year," Carol added.