Posted: March 5, 2020
As we enter the fourth year of the COVID-19 pandemic, we continue to hold the health and safety of all of our residents and their family and friends as well as our staff is our highest priority.
We are in a very different place today than at the beginning of the pandemic in 2020. This is due to wide availability of the vaccine leading to immunity, effective treatment options and continued adherence to appropriate prevention measures.
Since it became available to the public, nearly 70 percent of Americans have the primary series of COVID-19 vaccinations and many are boosted providing wide immunity. Along with vaccines, many people have had COVID which offers immunity as well. The current suite of vaccines has saved millions of lives. In fact, a recent report from the Commonwealth Fund says that the shots have prevented more than 18.5 million additional hospitalizations and 3.2 million additional deaths.
The good news is that Capella of Grand Junction was one of the first senior living communities to provide the vaccine. Plus, our staff and residents have a much higher rate of vaccine and boosters.
Effective treatments are now available, namely the antiviral medications such as Paxlovid and others. Studies have shown that the prescription pill can reduce the risk of hospitalization by 51 percent in adults with COVID-19. Its effect has been shown to be even greater in high-risk individuals, including older adults and people who are immunosuppressed. The recommendation is that anyone 50 and older who tests positive for COVID-19 talk to a health care provider about antiviral treatment options.
As long as we have the coronavirus, new variants are expected to occur but we don’t know how that will affect the pandemic. Currently, the new variants have been closely related to the Omicron strain and therefore the current vaccines have been effective in providing protection. It is unknown if this will continue to be the case. But the CDC is watching closely and the Capella of Grand Junction clinical team is staying abreast of current recommendations. As conditions change, we are keeping applicable personnel informed as new information is gathered and we’ve implemented specific action items and guidelines to protect residents in Assisted Living and Memory Support Neighborhoods.
Still one of the most important tools to reduce the risks from COVID-19 and other viruses is prevention. We want to encourage everyone to help prevent the potential of the virus entering our community. One can simply follow everyday preventive actions such as avoiding close contact with people who are sick, washing your hands, and using alcohol-based hand sanitizers and covering your cough. Also, avoid crowded spaces or spaces that have poor ventilation, or wear a mask in these spaces; keep high touch surfaces clean; monitor symptoms; and get tested if ill.
Whether you’re visiting a loved one or touring your new home, we ask that you adhere to certain basic health and safety standards set by the community. This may include wearing a mask and/or participating in a COVID-19 screening process.
Our clinical team has created coronavirus specific policies and procedures based on the Norovirus Prevention Guide, These are already in place and proven to prevent the spread of virus in communal living such as senior living communities. Staff is required to be vaccinated and boosted and we are requiring team members who are ill to stay home. Our focus on prevention in a team approach where each member does their part to help keep the whole community healthy and safe!
You can read more about our Coronavirus preparedness on the Christian Living Communities website.
And feel free to ask us any questions, please contact us.
Original content was published March 2020.