ROANOKE, Va. (WFXR) — When the coronavirus pandemic began more than two years ago, nursing homes were hit especially hard, forcing staff members and residents to adapt to a life with even more limited contact with loved ones.

However, while seniors were one of the groups most threatened by COVID-19 early on, many of those seniors have since been vaccinated against the virus.

“I think we have tools in our toolbox that we did not have in the beginning,” said Nicole Bruch, the director of communications for Virginia Lutheran Homes, which owns Brandon Oaks Life Plan Community in Roanoke.

With over 90% of Brandon Oaks residents vaccinated, Bruch says the nursing home has welcomed back communal dining and visitors, but COVID-19 precautions are still a part of day-to-day life.

“We had to make so many changes that that’s something they’ve gotten used to,” Bruch added.

According to the Virginia Department of Health (VDH), people over the age of 60 have made up approximately 24.4% of coronavirus cases in the Roanoke City Health District in the last 13 weeks, while 36.7% were found in people in their 20s and 30s. However, all five COVID-related deaths in Roanoke during that same time period were among people in their 60s or 80s.

As for the Commonwealth as a whole, 21.6% of COVID-19 cases and 91.2% of coronavirus-related deaths over the last 13 weeks have involved people age 60 or older, the VDH reports.