West Plains Senior Center closes due to COVID-19 surge

Published: Jul. 13, 2021 at 4:39 PM CDT
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WEST PLAINS, Mo. (KY3) - Normally, at 8 a.m., you will find 69-year-old Bob Dutton on a treadmill at the Center. For now, he has to exercise at home.

Due to the latest surge in COVID-19 cases, the West Plains Senior Center has shut down most of its operations. They hand out food and deliver it, but activities inside the Center have ground to a halt.

The West Plains Senior Center reopened in May for limited activities and opened the dining room on July 1. Then, a few days later, the center closed down again.

“I know everyone is disappointed,” said Center Administrator Joy Pace. “But we just want to keep everybody safe, that’s our main goal.”

Pace said the center normally would have 50-60 lunch diners on an average day, and 20-30 people taking part in activities like bingo or fitness classes.

“People need socialization,” said Pace. “It is a big deal for people, especially seniors, to socialize, and that combats depression and a lot of other symptoms that come from being cooped up in your home and not having people to interact with.”

Bob Dutton agrees. “I enjoy you know, seeing the people talk to them, the food, the homemade food here is great,” he said.

Pace says she hopes the center can reopen on August 2. That will depend on Howell County Health Department recommendations. According to the department’s website, new cases in the past week are up by 128% from last week.

“For a minute there I thought everything was going to open up and be normal again,” said Dutton. “It’s not going to happen because some people just won’t take a shot, and they need to, but we just can’t force the.”

Pace says the center is continuing to hand out and deliver 300 to 400 meals a day, and they are in dire need of more drivers to deliver meals.

For more information or to offer your services as a volunteer, contact the West Plains Senior Center at (417) 256-4055 or visit their Facebook page.

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