August 27, 2021, Letter to Family and Friends
As always, we appreciate that you entrust us with the care of your loved ones. We appreciate your understanding and cooperation with our recent implementation of masking and social distancing protocols for our facility.
In the past couple of weeks, there has been a lot of activity on the vaccine front. We are anticipating regulatory and guidance changes in the coming days in response to several vaccine initiatives:
- On Aug. 23, the Pfizer vaccine became the first in the U.S. to receive full approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)and will now be marketed as “Comirnaty” as its new brand name. The approval means that this vaccine meets the highest safety and efficacy standards and is a big step in the fight against COVID-19. https://www.fda.gov/news-events/press-announcements/fda-approves-first-covid-19-vaccine
- The CDC and FDA made recommendations for administration of a third dose of Pfizer or Moderna vaccinations for immunocompromised individuals. As a result, we are evaluating all of our current residents against the criteria and will be contacting you and physicians if your loved one meets the criteria for a third dose. Data has indicated that individuals with moderate to severe immunosuppression do not create an adequate immune response after the initial two dose series of the Pfizer and Moderna and is recommending a third dose as part of the primary series at least 28 days after completion of the first two doses. The Johnson and Johnson vaccine does not currently carry this recommendation. https://www.fda.gov/news-events/press-announcements/coronavirus-covid-19-update-fda-authorizes-additional-vaccine-dose-certain-immunocompromised
- In addition, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced a plan to deliver booster shots for individuals who have been vaccinated with the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine or the Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine. Under this plan, a booster would be administered, eight months after an individual’s second dose, beginning the week of September 20—at which point those individuals who were fully vaccinated earliest in the vaccination rollout will be eligible, including many health care providers, nursing home residents, and other seniors. We are awaiting final guidance as to when the booster shots will be available for our residents and staff who received the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine. https://www.fda.gov/news-events/press-announcements/joint-statement-hhs-public-health-and-medical-experts-covid-19-booster-shots
- President Biden also announced new regulations requiring nursing homes to require that all of their workers be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 as a condition of participating in the Medicare and Medicaid programs. The new regulations have not yet been released, however, we have begun taking the necessary steps to achieve full compliance with regulatory changes. https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/statements-releases/2021/08/18/fact-sheet-president-biden-to-announce-new-actions-to-protect-americans-from-covid-19-and-help-state-and-local-leaders-fight-the-virus/
Our vaccination rates for our active residents and staff as of August 26, 2021, is 87% of staff vaccinated 93% residents for a total of 90% of our facility vaccinated. Our non-vaccinated staff are tested weekly and all remain negative. Next testing date Wednesday September 1, 2021.
Full vaccinations are at the forefront of safety for staff and residents. We encourage all, including family members and volunteers, to become vaccinated. Find vaccines near you: https://www.vaccines.gov/search. For information about vaccinations, please check the CDC’s fact sheet. We also continue to be able to offer resident families to patriciate in our vaccine clinic at the Jewish Home through our pharmacy. If interested please contact Denise Skrzysowski, RN, our Infection Control Preventionist at email@example.com or 570-344-6177 extension 1173. We are pleased to be able to offer this service to help control the spread of COVID 19. Due to the delivery of the vaccine, vaccination can only occur during the week at this time.
Our Facility’s Resident Impact (Since March 30, 2020, through August 26, 2021)
0 – Residents currently in our building with a confirmed active case of COVID 19
57 – CONFIRMED: Residents with laboratory positive COVID-19
0 – SUSPECTED: Residents with new suspected COVID-19
53 – Confirmed Staff Total: with a positive COVID-19
- Please note that test results are reported on our daily call-in line at 570-207-6711. Family members and all others impacted by the virus will be contacted directly and provided with results and updates.
There are currently no changes in our visitation protocols at this time. Please continue to mask during visits. Our visitation guidelines are posted on our website at jhep.org in the COVID section. To schedule a visit please email Mary Ryan at firstname.lastname@example.org or call her at 570-344-6177 ext. 1104. Mary is available Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. We do ask for visits to be scheduled one day in advance. Please schedule visits occurring on Saturday, Sunday and Monday, no later than the Friday before at 1 p.m. so schedules can be provided to reception staff.
We take very seriously our responsibility for your loved one’s safety and well-being. If you have any questions, we are always available for you. Thank you again.
Mary Rose Applegate, MBA, RD, NHA