By Krista Allen and Antonia Muskat
Lake Powell Chronicle
PAGE – The outbreak of the coronavirus has been stressful for the staff and the residents at BeeHive Homes, which took strict lockdown measures last month to tackle the pandemic.
Not only fear and anxiety about the virus have been overwhelming, but the virus has also caused strong emotions, said Trevor Burrows, manager of BeeHive Homes on Elk Road.
“Lockdown has been hard for me, watching (residents) cry knowing their family can’t come in,” Burrows said. “It’s basically when their families come to the window and that they can’t come in. It’s kind of hard that they can’t come in and they don’t understand why they can’t come in and see them.”
Burrows said when residents do cry, he and his staff usually sit by them and offer them comfort.
“They really like touch and feel and with the lockdown, they’re not able to do so,” Burrows explained. “We pray every day that this virus will be lifted, and we can go back to normal.
“As soon as we hear more from the (federal) government and the state. As of right of right now, I’m hoping in another month, if numbers start to decrease.”
BeeHive Homes on March 28 tightened its visitor restrictions to flatten the curve of the virus that has sickened more than 2.4 million people across the globe and has killed over 167,000 as of April 20, according to the Coronavirus Resource Center at Johns Hopkins. In the U.S., more than 40,900 have died and over 766,000 have contracted the virus.
Once the immediate crush of coronavirus cases subsides, epidemiologists say a post-peak purgatory lies ahead until a vaccine is developed – in hopes for a return to normal life. But there’s no guarantee, experts say, that a fully effective COVID-19 vaccine is possible.
In the meantime, as the hours lose their edges and as the days start to blend together, Burrows and his staff are keeping residents entertained and helping them pass time during quarantine.
BeeHive resident Mae Boone said she doesn’t understand why the residential care facility is on lockdown. But her understanding of the coronavirus “is like a really bad cold.”
Boone said she misses visits with her family, and life in quarantine can get a little repetitive, so she stays preoccupied during the day.
Burrows said the BeeHive staff tries to do lots of activities, such as playing bingo and other board games, with the residents.
“And we visit a lot with them and watch good movies,” Burrows said.
Resident Daisy Claw said that she misses visits from her niece and her daughter, and that she cannot fathom how the pandemic has already changed the world in a matter of weeks: shattering lives, disrupting markets, and exposing the competence of governments. Daisy understands that being in quarantine doesn’t have to be a scary thing, but it’s an effective way to protect the public.
Burrows said BeeHive residents have “changed a lot because their whole world has turned upside down.”
Older adults and people who have severe underlying medical conditions like heart or lung disease and diabetes seem to be at higher risk for developing more serious complications from COVID-19, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“They want to go out so bad and mingle,” Burrows said, “and see their families but they know the sickness has risk and they can’t risk it.”
Stress and coping
Everyone reacts differently to stressful situations, according to the CDC, which suggests that how one responds to the outbreak can depend on one’s background, the things that make one different from other people and the community one lives in.
Regardless of their specific circumstances, Burrows said he and his staff are helping residents cope with stress, anxiety, and other feelings that are surfacing.
Alice Tadytin said even though she misses visits from her daughter, she does beadwork and beading projects in an effort to improve her overall well-being.
“(Lockdown is) so we don’t get sick,” said Tadytin, who believes she experienced another form of the coronavirus before and said it’s like pneumonia. Coronaviruses are known to cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, according to the World Health Organization.
Burrows said that it will take some time to get back to normalcy post-coronavirus.
“It’s going to be gradual,” said Dr. Robert Murphy, the director of the Institute for Global Health at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.
President Donald Trump this week proposed guidelines for reopening the economy and suggested that a swath of the U.S. would soon resume something resembling normalcy. But there will be no quick return to previous lives, according to experts.
Marie Yazzie said she is in no rush to return to normalcy because she’s always been a resident at BeeHive.
“(I miss) nothing, I’ve always been here,” Yazzie said.
Dr. Bruce Aylward, senior adviser to the director-general of the WHO, said COVID-19 is one of the most serious diseases one will face in this lifetime.
Burrows said the community of Page can help by a number of ways, including praying for the BeeHive residents and sending inspirational messages to bring hope to the BeeHive residents.
“Keep your elderlies safe,” Burrows said. “Giving them little notes saying we care and are here for you would brighten their day.”
Those who want to send inspirational messages, drawings, paintings, or send letters to BeeHive residents must call 928-608-6000 before visiting the facility, where coronavirus temperature checks have been implemented before staff start a shift.
“We check residents’ temperatures throughout the day, making sure no temperatures are going up or down,” Burrows added. “And then we just sanitize pretty much every day.”