Chatham County Council on Aging maintains current operational status

Posted 3/24/21

The board of directors of the Chatham County Council on Aging has decided to continue an emphasis on safety and keep offices closed to in-person programming through March and April.

The board will …

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Chatham County Council on Aging maintains current operational status

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Posted

The board of directors of the Chatham County Council on Aging has decided to continue an emphasis on safety and keep offices closed to in-person programming through March and April.

The board will reassess the situation in early May.

The board and management of the council remain steadfast in their reliance on what science and public health indicate. This includes information about the effect of the new variants of the virus.

“While we are excited about reported reductions in cases, hospitalizations and deaths due to vaccinations and practicing the three W’s, we know this is still a very serious and tenuous situation,” said Larry Ross, the COA’s board president.

In the meantime, the council is continuing to identify ways to reengage with participants in a more active and personal way.

Since March 16, 2020, the Chatham County Council on Aging has closed its two centers to in-facility programming due to COVID-19 precautions. Over the past year, the Council on Aging has continued its many services and programs — just in different ways.

For example, the council has provided food assistance to more than 320 seniors, including 112 participants who are new to the COA meals program. Many of these seniors also receive supplies and friendly check-in calls from staff to stave off isolation and loneliness.

“While participants used to come to our two centers for a hot lunch and to enjoy a wide range of activities, under COVID, we have been taking meals to them and offering them opportunities for social, recreational and educational programming through various virtual means,” said COA executive director Dennis Streets. “We know this is no substitute for being able to meet in person, but our primary focus has been on keeping our senior participants, volunteers and staff members safe.”

According to the N.C. Dept. of Health and Human Services, Chatham County has moved from substantial community spread down to significant community spread in the last month, showing Chatham residents are making progress in combating the virus. Still, all residents must remain vigilant and do their part to further reduce spread and protect seniors and others who are most at risk of the worst effects of COVID-19.

As Chatham County Public Health Director Michael Zelek shared with the council, “I know many are eager to gather and socialize after nearly a year of living through this pandemic. While case numbers are improving after a difficult winter, the threat of COVID remains present and I appreciate your caution with indoor public gatherings, which we know are settings where transmission is more likely to occur.”

“If all of our staff, as frontline workers serving a vulnerable population, have the opportunity to be vaccinated within the next two months, we will explore what changes in programming we can safely make,” Streets said. “While we cannot predict with confidence any specific day when things can be different, I can promise we look forward to when we can welcome our participants back into our centers for a hot lunch and in-person activities. The sooner people get vaccinated, the sooner this can happen. In the meantime, everyone must remain vigilant in wearing masks, waiting a safe distance apart and washing our hands.”

For information about the work of the Council on Aging, visit www.chathamcoa.org, or call 919-542-4512 or 919-742-3975.

For information about vaccination availability in Chatham County, visit: www.chathamnc.org/coronavirusvaccine (Spanish: www.chathamnc.org/coronavirusvacuna), or call the Info Line at 919-545-8323, Monday-Thursday 10am-4pm.

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