Update 1/24/2021 - Keep the prayers coming for our staff and residents! I just pulled off COVID-19 PCR tests for all staff and AL residents!
On 1/13/21 we did have a staff test positive. This staff had previously tested positive in October 2020 so this would be our first re-infection.
On Monday we will complete the rapid testing on all staff, residents in AL and residents in nursing. If no new positives then we may be on the other side of this outbreak now and can exhale.
If this is the case then we will continue to monitor the county positivity rate and as soon as CMS and ODH will allow visitation we will reopen the socially distanced, monitored, schedule visits. I know the hope was as soon as we got vaccinated we would be able to open the doors for visitation. Sadly we have learned that open visitation is still a ways off. With that said - what days and times would work best for you to visit with your loved one?
TUESDAY, Jan. 19, 2021 (HealthDay News) -- People in nursing homes have been suffering in isolation during the coronavirus pandemic, with their institutions in constant lockdown to prevent potentially fatal outbreaks.
Now that they're some of the first in line to receive COVID-19 vaccinations, it would be natural for nursing home residents to expect that visits from friends and family will soon resume.
That might not happen, though.
Uneven vaccination rates and unknowns related to the vaccines could mean that folks in nursing homes will have to remain isolated for a while longer, experts said.
"It's going to be a while before there are enough people immunized to really start to see a reduction in risk," said Dr. Chris Beyrer, a professor of public health and human rights with the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, in Baltimore. "There's going to be this challenging period where we won't have enough vaccine and we won't have enough people immunized."
There's a reason for caution, and it's the same reason why nursing home residents and workers gained a place in the first wave of vaccinations.
People in long-term care facilities have accounted for 40% of all COVID-19 deaths in the United States, even though they represent only 6% of overall infections, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
In addition, nearly one in five nursing home residents who contract COVID-19 have died from the virus, a death rate much higher than that of the general population, according to the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.
These assisted care facilities are full of people with conditions that put them at high risk of a life-threatening COVID-19 infection, Beyrer explained.
"And they're so crowded together, and it's indoors, and this is an indoor virus," Beyrer added.
In a statement, the American Health Care Association/National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL) said they are "extremely optimistic this vaccine will expedite the reopening of our facilities to family members and loved ones. We hope to be able to discuss what next steps look like once the second dose of the vaccine is being widely delivered and administered to staff and residents across the country. Nonetheless, all of us are going to have to remain vigilant, even after the vaccine."
But the group added that questions remain regarding personal safety even among those who are vaccinated.
"Health experts have stated that the vaccine is safe and effective, but we do not yet know whether vaccinated individuals can still be carriers of the virus and infect others," the AHCA/NCAL said. "We appreciate experts and health officials continuing to monitor the effectiveness of the vaccines, especially as new strains emerge, which will hopefully inform government guidance on how we can safely reopen our facilities."
The problem is that the vaccines now available were given emergency use authorizations, and therefore facilities cannot mandate that either residents or staff take them, Beyrer explained.
"Remember that not everybody in the nursing home is going to be willing to be immunized. There will still likely be vulnerable people there, and that's also true of the staff," Beyrer said.
"It's a mixed picture. We've seen some places where health care workers and providers have been very willing and eager and lining up to get the vaccine, and other settings where a significant proportion have not been willing," he added.
Federal health experts have said 70% to 80% of people will need to be immune from COVID-19 before the population reaches a state of "herd immunity," in which outbreaks cannot easily occur.
"That number is probably even higher in a nursing home," Beyrer said, given the high risk created by a crowded indoor population of people with chronic illnesses.
Beyrer thinks it could still be months before nursing homes reopen for visitors.
"I would think that our best estimate is that there will be enough vaccine for every adult in this country who wants one sometime between June and July . The fall may be looking much better for people in terms of resuming visits and those kinds of activities," Beyrer said.
The U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has more about COVID-19 cases in nursing homes.
SOURCES: Chris Beyrer, MD, professor of public health and human rights, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore; American Health Care Association/National Center for Assisted Living, statement
This past Saturday, January 16 was our third COVID-19 vaccine clinic. I operated the registration table and am so excited to share that CVS provided 222 vaccines to residents, staff and vendors. These were about 40% round 1 and 60% of round 2 vaccine. There are only 8 residents that have abstained from the vaccination; this brings our resident vaccine rate to 94%. Our staff percentage has also increased from the 39% previously reported to now 49%.
We have one more opportunity for round one vaccines to be given during this pharmacy partnership - others staff will need to find other means to get vaccinated.
Education to staff is ongoing.
The biggest question I get asked from residents and families - is how soon until mom can come to my house or go out? Most of us realize we need this vaccine in order to gain any sense of normalcy - however we can't count our chickens before they hatch.
I reached out to Dr. Soboleski, Summit County Medical Director for direction. She did say that the vaccine should reach full effect 2 weeks after the second shot. However, there is not enough data yet to say it's ok for us to go back to normal. Dr. Soboleski shared with me CDC gold standard for post vaccine activity outside of the congregate living. This gold standard is that if residents chose to leave the facility - even for just 1/2 a day, they would be required to quarantine in their room for 14 days upon return.
Believe me I know this post is not going to be favored, I don't even like it. However, we are held to the standards set forth by ODH, CDC, CMS and OSHA. Because of these standards, to continue to operate then we must enforce the directives.
After more studies are conducted on the general population and more people are vaccinated, we will know more information and the guidelines for us to follow will change. I will keep you posted as they do.
Here is information from CDC for your review.
Update 1/12/21 -
As I've contemplated this post for a few days now and what I wanted to share - all I can do is reflect on the past 67 days. Sixty-seven days since we identified our first COVID case this round on November 6, 2020 (recall in April 2020 we had 3 other cases). Our most recent case was identified Sunday, January 10, 2021. Between all the areas we have not had relief from this outbreak yet.
However, yesterday, Monday January 10, 2021 - No new nursing home OR assisted living residents were identified as having the virus. Start praying that this is the beginning of gaining control of this nightmare.
We are 59 days shy since families and friends have been able to visit our residents, hug them, hold their hand, kiss their cheek whenever they wanted to. Visitation has been restricted for 306 days. How can this be?
My heart breaks for our residents, families, staff and all facilities dealing with Bill Murray's never ending Ground Hog day. Staff members told me when the ball dropped on 1/1/21 they were yelling Jumanji! instead of Happy New Year! We will try anything to get out of this pandemic.
Early on in this pandemic, Dr. Amy Acton, would equate fighting this virus like Swiss cheese. All those layers of Swiss cheese would never fully protect us against the virus alone. Stacked on top of one another, the holes become smaller and smaller until completely covered. Her analogies really helped me comprehend this virus.
Let's list the layers of Swiss cheese protection against COVID-19. None of these layers will work alone but together we can don our cape and eat our cheese to fight this virus. I'll start the list - you continue in the comments.
1. Wash your hands
2. Wear gloves when handling bodily fluids
3. Clean and disinfect surfaces often
4. Cover your coughs and sneezes
5. Stay home when ill
6. Don't share drinks and food
8. Social distance
This Saturday, January 16, 2021 will be our third vaccination clinic - many completing their second dose. After this weekend residents and staff will have one more chance to start the vaccine on January 29, 2021. When it's your turn please take this opportunity to add another layer of Swiss cheese protection so we can all come together sooner. I long for the day to see one resident hugging one child, one child hugging their mom or dad for the first time in a year! Tears will be overflowing!
I have listed the facts below, by area, since the very beginning of this pandemic. It is almost impossible to comprehend that overall Stow-Glen has had 103 total cases of COVID-19 amongst residents and staff since the start of this pandemic. Of that total, 73 have recovered, 13 have lost their battle and 17 are actively fighting this virus.
I want to urge every person who reads this post to get vaccinated at the first opportunity. It's the only way we can hope to regain some form of visitation and the start of our new normal.
As of today -
Residents - 80% of our residents have began to be vaccinated. After Saturday, I predict we will have 95% compliance rate among our residents.
Staff - 40% of our staff have began the vaccination. I don't have enough information yet to make a staff prediction but I do want to encourage staff to watch the videos assigned to you, do your own research and ask questions about this vaccine. By the end of our clinics we need this number to increase greatly.
Readers - after listing another layer of Swiss cheese protection we have please answer one of these questions below to have an open discussion, good or bad, about the COVID 19 Vaccine.
1. Why did you decide TO VACCINATE yourself against COVID-19?
2. Why did you decide NOT to vaccinate yourself against COVID-19?
3. Why WILL you get vaccinated when you are presented with the opportunity?
4. What questions or concerns are holding you back from making a commitment to be vaccinated against COVID-19?
PS - stay tuned for some great pictures we have to share - maybe you'll see someone you know.
Update 12/28/2020 - On Monday, December 28, 2020 we tested all staff, nursing home residents and assisted living residents for COVID-19. I am pleased to say that all of our nursing home residents tested negative. There was one additional resident in assisted living that tested positive today bringing our total to 14 with another being treated as a person under investigation. Two of our Assisted Living residents have gone through the 14-day quarantine period and are doing well. We also had 4 employees test positive for COVID-19 who work in the assisted living. Recall that once someone tests positive for COVID they do not get re-tested for 90-days unless there are new onset of signs or symptoms.
After careful considerations we have decided to move all the current COVID-19 positive residents in assisted living to the nursing home in the special equipped negative air pressure unit. The same trained staff who cared for the nursing home residents with COVID-19 will be caring for our Assisted Living residents. Our goal is to hopefully stop the spread in Assisted Living and of course continue to keep COVID out of the non-COVID sections in nursing.
I am pleased to share, while I don’t have exact numbers yet, our first vaccine clinic was a success. We will continue to keep you updated throughout.
Literally minutes ago, I was able to finally confirm with CVS that everyone who has turned in a consent form or called me for an appointment will be able to receive the COVID vaccine tomorrow.
I have vaccine consents from all of Cedar Hall that requested, all of Birch Hall except Pathway to Independence who will join in on the next round in January. All of Assisted Living; those residents with guardians have given consent and all others that wanted it gave consent. We are still about 70% collecting consents for the nursing home but we do have vaccines set aside.
If your loved one is unable to give consent themselves or if you have a loved one in the nursing home and have not been contacted - it’s not to late. Please text me at +13302833591 and we can still get the resident on the list.
All staff who requested have been placed on the schedule. Staff may still have room if you text me today.
Reminder - residents or staff currently being treated for COVID are not eligible to receive the vaccine and can start your round on January 16, 2021. More details to follow tonight or early tomorrow. This clinic is only for residents and staff members of Stow-Glen.
The tree below really resonated with me and the craziness of 2020. This vaccine is truly an answer to prayer and makes it more special, to me, that we were able to finalize things on Christmas Day and to share this good news as well. God Bless everyone!
Update 12/23/20 - We are making progress.
I was finally able to get with someone from the state and CVS.
The good news is anyone who lives or works at Stow-Glen CAN get vaccinated at our clinic Saturday 12/26/20. The bad news is CVS in town, that is coming to vaccinate was not aware that Matt honored my request to also vaccinate the AL and IL. So the current team assigned to us can only administer about 160 vaccines in the allocated time of 11a-5p. Lauren, from our local CVS, is working on putting together another team of pharmacists to come to our clinic and administer the vaccine. She will contact me someone tomorrow to let me know progress. We always want to follow up with good news - if Lauren is not able to get more to participant in our clinic then she promised me she would schedule another first dose clinic before our second dose clinic comes around. If we cannot do all vaccines Saturday then I will have to prioritize them and will let you know as well
Watch here for more details tomorrow. Tomorrow we will be conducting COVID testing for all staff, fingers crossed, our last staff case was identified on 12/11/20 - Christmas day will be 14 days if we get through tomorrow of no new staff cases.
The nursing home will now go to a once every 3-7 day COVID testing for our residents as we have not had a new case since 11/27/20 - almost one month. Next testing date will be Monday, December 28.
However, we do know there are now 5 cases within the Assisted Living. Those residents have either been transferred to a higher level or care or are isolating in their rooms. We have asked all other residents to remain in their rooms, including meals, activities and to only socialize by phone or video message to lessen this spread. We are going to hold off conducting AL testing until Saturday, December 26, 2020 unless someone presents with symptoms.
Some families have called asking about taking their loved ones out for Christmas. We again must recommend that residents not leave so we can continue to contain this virus. Any resident that chooses to leave the campus for anything besides a medical appointment in AL or IL (and only the ER is open on Christmas day) will need to remain in their room/apartment for 14 days upon return. If they reside in the nursing home then they would need to quarantine down the Transitional/COVID Wing; please remember there is limited space down there and its first come first serve. Per regs I cannot allow them to isolate in their rooms during this 14 day period.
There has been some confusion with all the packages being delivered. We had items sent through the USPS, UPS, Fedex, drop offs and deliveries. We were collecting random presents that required a 72 hour wait time, presents for specific residents that also had to sit for 72 hours or have the ability that we could spray or wipe down. If a present has been misplaced please know we are doing everything we can to locate it.
Update for 12/22/20 - Monday we conducted another round of COVID testing for all nursing home residents; assisted living residents and all staff.
We had no positive cases in nursing, one in Assisted Living and none amongst staff.
We have analyzed our predicament in Assisted Living with 4 total cases and now and made the decision to quarantine residents now and not wait to quarantine IF we get more. We are trying desperately to stop the spread. I know this is heartbreaking to the residents, families and staff. Rebecca and I contemplated our options and debated do we hold out till next week or act now. Obviously we chose to act now and not wait for more cases to be identified before we did something. This was a hard decision for us but we feel this is best for now. We have another round of testing on Thursday for staff and AL residents and depending on that outcome will help direct our decisions for the upcoming days.
I made several attempts to contact someone at the state level today concerning the vaccination for AL and IL on Saturday. I am now waiting on return emails. I have spoken with CVS and they are prepared to bring enough for everyone if I can get the state to release them. Prayers please.
Just a reminder that Dr Bailey will be available Tuesday 8a-9a if you have specific questions about the vaccine. We know families are unable to come in person so please ask questions here or email them and I can forward to Dr Bailey for answers.
Just as we did for the nursing home and we all joined together in prayer we are now doing that for our Assisted Living.
Update for 12/21/20 - please say a prayer as we test all nursing home and assisted living residents along with all employees. The last time a case was identified in each area are as follows:
Nursing Home - no new cases since 11/27/20 (24 days ago!)
Assisted Living - last positive case was identified 12/17/20
Birch - last positive case identified was 12/2/20 (19 days ago!)
Cedar - no cases identified
Staff - last positive case identified on 12/11/20 (10 days ago)
November 6, 45 days ago, was the start of this outbreak and has the staff, residents and families all exhausted. It appears we have successfully managed the nursing home with no new cases in 24 days. Praise God! We did our very best to not allow it to spread to other areas and just as with the nursing home, we don't know how the virus got into the Assisted Living. It's here and we will manage and together, fight this virus and will win.
All Assisted Living rooms are private therefore the resident can normally rest and recover in their home, just as you or I would do. As a precaution we have placed a clear zippered wall outside their apartment door and anyone who enters much be in full PPE. Meals are served in their rooms with disposable dishes and utensils. Medications are brought to their rooms and rooms are continued to be cleaned by our housekeepers.
These residents will remain in their AL apartment as long as we are able to manage their care. If there is any concern at all we will transfer them to the nursing home or hospital, wherever care is needed.
Our nursing home is prepared to step in and care for AL residents as needed. Our side 1 COVID Unit has been reconfigured to again separate those residents active with COVID, which there are none, verses someone we are monitoring. New clear plastic zippered fireproof walls have been replaced and all rooms were cleaned and disinfected completely.
So we've asked for your prayers for the past 45 days in the nursing home. Now we ask for prayers for our Assisted Living residents and staff. If there are any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact me (Tammy) at 330-283-3591 or Rebecca Davis at 330-819-9183.
Christmas presents that you have brought in have been held and will be delivered to the residents unless there were specifically asked to be held longer.
This week, we are permitting hot food deliveries or homemade goodies. Please make sure it is in a container that we can wipe down prior to delivery to the resident. I was gifted a UV-C sanitizing wand and am bringing it into the facility for us to use on hot deliveries. These have been tested in labs, uses no chemicals and kills 99.9% of harmful bacteria, viruses, germs, allergens and molds.
We will keep you updated as we continue to sail these waters.
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