COVID-19: Where we are
Because we had our first confirmed cases in December, we are adding this regular, temporary column to our newsletter to provide information to our community. For the length of the pandemic, we will use this space to keep everyone aware of the impact from this disease on on the individuals we serve and the people who work here.
As of January 2, eleven employees of Imagine and three clients have tested positive for COVID-19. Of these, 8 employees and one client has recovered, and are currently thought to be immune.
There have been 81 quarantines of employees (or Family Home providers.) Six clients have been served in isolation due to exposure to or confirmed cases of COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic. Of these, we currently have 6 employees or providers in quarantine and two who should be isolated. We currently serve two clients in isolation due to current cases of COVID-19 and have 3 employees off-duty while recovering.
Someone is considered immune to COVID-19 if they have had it in the last three months and/or if they have received the complete vaccination program. Currently, 8 employees and 1 client are considered immune. We ask people considered immune to take the same precautions. We believe staff who are considered immune are much safer than others when serving an individual with an active case.
Of the three clients who have been confirmed with COVID-19, we believe that two were infected through exposure to staff.
Although the arrival of COVID-19 in our family was unwelcome and we had hoped to avoid it, so far we have been lucky. Most of the people who have been infected with this disease have not spread it to clients and coworkers. Those who have been infected this far at Imagine have been able to recover without severe symptoms and some of us are already presumed immune.
We’ve also been lucky in the strength of our people. All three clients who have tested positive, have received around-the-clock care from a single person of whom one had (and has) not yet contracted the virus. That’s extraordinary commitment and we have to admire the people who have given so much so selflessly.
Vaccination Program: What we’re doing
As we have discussed, Imagine, we are told, has qualified as a long-term care facility for the purposes of being included in California’s Phase 1A allocation of vaccines. We have been informed by Omnicare, (a division of CVS) that they have been asked to prioritize Skilled Nursing Facilities before other forms of long-term care and that, as a result of this as well as fewer than expected doses, we may have to wait several more weeks before we can make the vaccine available to our clients and employees. When that opportunity comes, we expect it to take place at our offices during a specified window of time not of our choosing. The vaccination will be optional for every client or employee of Imagine and we believe (but aren’t yet certain) that it will be available for our Family Home Providers as well.
We may only have 1 week between learning of the first vaccine clinic and the clinic itself. All staff, whether you intend to receive the first vaccines or not, should prepare for some disruptions of schedules as a result. If you do not wish to receive the vaccine, we may ask you to substitute for staff who do wish to receive it if that is necessary for them to attend the clinic. If you want to receive the vaccine, you can fill out this form and email it to Patty. If you are a conservator and want your loved one to receive the vaccine, you will also need to fill out this form.
For those of our full-time employees who have chosen Kaiser Permanente for your health care coverage, there is a program in place for them to provide the vaccine to their customers following the priorities of the state. This may be especially valuable to people who have difficulty with the timing of our vaccination clinics. Patty is working to learn whether United HealthCare has a similar plan.
We have a weekly newsletter with COVID updates that now goes out to our clients, staff and families (whose emails we have.). As details on the vaccine become firmer, we will notify that list. If you would like to receive that email and do not, please let Lili or me know.
As Patty explained in her column, science has shown that the vaccine we will be receiving has a very strong effect protecting the person who receives it from becoming sick after exposure to the Novel Coronavirus. It is not known yet whether people who receive the vaccine can infect others. While this is not known, those who receive the vaccine will be expected to follow the same guidelines as their peers. However, as that science becomes more known, Imagine may adjust our policies to eliminate, for example, the quarantine following non-essential travel or relaxing PPE requirements for people who take the vaccine.
Fom January 1 through March 31, the emergency paid sick leave available to those who must quarantine due to COVID-like symptoms or to care for someone with COVID or symptoms is now optional. Imagine has opted to continue this program. The board has approved other assistance for people who exhaust their emergency paid sick leave so that you can all quarantine as necessary to protect your colleagues and peers.
-Submitted by Doug