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How to keep elderly people safe while social distancing

Posted at 6:41 PM, Mar 17, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-17 19:41:03-04

As coronavirus news develops, one thing that has remained constant is how dangerous the virus can be for older people.

We know many nursing homes are limiting people visiting their loved ones, but what is being done for those who live at home?

"Community spread is inevitable here in Waco, and we gotta get ahead of it and flatten the curve and slow down infection rate," said Waco Mayor Kyle Deaver.

He held a press conference Tuesday declaring a local state of disaster and a local health emergency.

"We've all got to band together and make a difference here," said Deaver.

As we hear the term social distancing more, people are isolating themselves in their homes, leaving older adults who are most at risk to coronavirus with limited help.

"What will we do about people that are 80 years or older or that are elderly and live alone? I honestly don't have an answer for that. We're gonna have to work that out," said Mayor Deaver when asked about the issue.

According to the latest U.S. Census, there are at least 36,000 people 65 years or older in McLennan County, 20,000 in Brazos, and 37,000 in Bell County.

Dr. Jackson Griggs with Waco Family Health Center says it's important for everyone to be aware if they have elderly neighbors and see if they need help.

"Reach out to them. Not in close proximity, but maybe via phone, or leave them a note, or even have them open their door and step back and check in on them," he said.

But because of how quickly coronavirus is developing, the City is making minute by minute decisions and wants people to remain vigilant and optimistic.

"We will get through this. We will get stronger in the end, but we've all got to work to get there," said Mayor Deaver.

As of publication, there are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in McLennan County, but officials say that's not an excuse, and people need to be careful when coming in contact with others, especially those older.