BROKEN ARROW, Okla. - More than half of the 322 COVID-19 related deaths in Oklahoma have happened in long-term care centers.
Because of that, each time a resident recovers from the virus, it's a cause for celebration.
There has been nearly a dozen of COVID-19 graduations at Franciscan Villa in Broken Arrow so far. Each one marks a momentous milestone.
"This was beating something that was basically designed to kill our elders," Diakonos Group COO Kimberly Green said.
840 nursing home residents and 489 staff members have tested positive in Oklahoma. The 167 deaths are 52 percent of the total number of COVID deaths in the state.
81-year old Bonnie Perry is one who has recovered. Her son, Roy, spoke with me over the phone today, and said it was a grueling battle that went on for nearly three weeks.
At one point, Bonnie had double pneumonia, COVID-19, the flu, and her kidneys shut down.
"There were times it got really rough, there was one night in fact that we visited, and she was just ready to give up. She had been fighting so hard and so long, and she was tired, Erick, she really was," Roy Perry said.
Bonnie and Roy say that's why it was a miracle when Bonnie started to get better.
Roy said when his mother finally tested negative, she was wheeled down the hallway past all those who helped treat her.
"She said when she got to her room that she cried for over an hour just because she was happy and how happy they made her," Roy Perry said.
The Diakonos Group runs Franciscan Villa in BA. Green said COVID-19's impact on the elderly is why graduations like these are so important, not only for the families, but for the staff as well.
"So, when they get to say, 'this person has graduated, these people that I have taken such good care of, now get to go back out and live their life,' it is very emotional for our staff," Green said.
Green said they believe 11 more people who're being treated for COVID-19 at Franciscan Villa will graduate soon.