BLUFFTON — While COVID-19 at Mennonite Memorial Home in Bluffton has claimed eight lives and infected several staff members, the board chairwoman of Mennonite Home Communities of Ohio on Wednesday lavished praise on health care workers, hospital employees and volunteers and state and local health department officials for their continued help in battling a virus she likens to a “wildfire.”
Elizabeth Kelly, chairwoman of the board of directors at Mennonite Home Communities of Ohio, released a statement Wednesday in which she addressed the confirmation that eight residents have died and 19 residents and/or staff members have tested positive for the novel coronavirus.
“Through a difficult situation, Mennonite Memorial Home’s residents and staff are grateful for the help of innumerable community members, organizations and partners as we navigate uncharted territory,” Kelly said. “The coronavirus is an especially difficult adversary, as the spread is invisible. … like a wildfire that jumps from place to place, up a mountain and across a valley.”
Kelly offered special thanks to employees at Blanchard Valley Hospital who have volunteered to work as temporary employees of the Bluffton nursing home to assist with staffing needs.
She also acknowledged Bridge Hospice, Bluffton University and Sodexo and Pharmacy Solutions for their assistance during the pandemic. Local restaurants, including The Met in Lima and Bluffton University, have donated food to staff and residents food services, Kelly added.
The board president also addressed members of the Bluffton community, who she said have “been reaching out continually to help. We received over 700 hand-sewn cloth masks. We’ve also received handmade face shields using 3D printers from a group of community volunteers called the 3D Printing Coalition. Other community members have loaned their RV’s for temporary housing of staff if needed.
The spokeswoman said a team of physicians, epidemiologists and infection control specialists from the Allen County Health Department and the Ohio Department of Health have also been crucial in the home’s fight against COVID-19.
“Health care workers respond to needs in other cities or states when there’s a natural or man-made disaster. In this case it isn’t people from outside the area but our friends and neighbors, some of whom have or had family at Mennonite Memorial Home,” Kelly said. “Many are coming because this is what friends do and how they can serve their communities. We are deeply, deeply grateful.” she added.