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Trinity Oaks making the most of quarantine

By Susan Shinn Turner

For The Salisbury Post

In past years, Trinity Oaks Health and Rehab has asked visitors not to come in the facility because of outbreaks of flu or stomach bug.

“This time, we are telling people, ‘You can’t come in,’” said Bill Johnson, executive director of Trinity Oaks Retirement Community. “At first, people didn’t understand the severity of what is going on. They do now.”

The quarantine applies to the entire campus, which includes assisted living and independent living apartments and cottages.

“Everybody has been on board and supportive and helpful,” Johnson said Friday. “They have been asking, ‘How can we help?’”

The coronavirus especially affects the elderly, and there are no resident gatherings allowed across campus.

But that doesn’t mean residents are isolated.

The gym and pool are still open, with three residents allowed in at a time. On Wine Down Wednesday, Johnson and other staff members delivered wine and cheese and other snacks to cottage residents and those in the Lodge.

Bobbie Ann Brown, who lives with her husband, J.W., in the cottages, has learned to order groceries online, with the help of Trinity Oaks staff. The two are still able to walk in their neighborhood in the afternoons.

“Our staff are just the nicest people here,” she said.

On Thursday, Brown received a delivery of flowers from her sons ahead of her Friday birthday. Johnson delivered the bouquet.

“He will just do anything and he does do everything,” Brown said.

There’s been hall bingo and other activities to enjoy at health and rehab while maintaining social distancing, Johnson said.

Early on, staff and residents in health and rehab made greeting signs for families. Staff took photos and posted them on social media.

Gaynell Leonard, 102, wrote, “Send Cheerwine (both underlined). Other than that, it’s all good.”

Leonard was almost immediately inundated with bottles and cans of Cheerwine and Cheerwine cake — including some from Cheerwine headquarters just a few blocks away — which she gladly shared with fellow residents.

“That’s part of the fiber of who she is,” said her niece, Melissa Shue of Salisbury. “The more the merrier.”

“She and Cheerwine are the same age and that’s why she likes it so well,” said her brother Ron Thomas, who also lives in Salisbury.

Leonard drinks a Cheerwine every day, her brother said. “If she gets a chance, she’ll drink two.”

Thomas’ wife, JoAnn, recently had hip replacement surgery, and is at Liberty Commons for rehab, which means she’s also under quarantine. The couple have been visiting through the door.

“She’s doing good,” Thomas said, but will no doubt be glad to have her home.

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