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Hillsborough County Senior Centers Begin To Reopen After Pandemic

TAMPA, Fla. (CW44 News At 10) - Senior Centers in Hillsborough County are reopening after being closed for over two years because of the pandemic, and it's a moment many community members have been waiting for.

Mildred Domineck says Monday was a day she had been praying for.

"I am so excited to be back! It's been a long journey, we were looking forward to it. We're family. We do everything to make sure everyone is okay. And that is the exciting part. To see that everyone is okay."

The last two years, senior centers have been shut down because of the pandemic, with only daily zoom calls keeping community members connected.

"Kept us from being isolated and alone," said Domineck.

But now three of Hillsborough County's senior centers are back open: one in Progress Village, one in Ruskin, and another in Plant City.

"They have that same zest as and zeal that we had two years ago, and we are dancing and singing and clapping," said Domineck.

Fraces Duran-Brea with Hillsborough County Aging Services says having seniors socialize in person is critical.

"Social isolation is as much as a significant issue among older adults as chronic diseases like diabetes and hypertension," said Duran-Brea.

"I almost cried seeing their faces. Being around good people who love each other and help each other, it just made me feel great," said one Progress Village senior McDonald.

McDonald says seeing his friends again on Monday was a moment he will never forget.

"Glad to be back with my family because I consider them my family. I'm just elated to be back here," said McDonald.

County officials say they will continue to open up senior centers through June.

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