This is the fifth edition of a temporary, weekly COVID-19 update. Our goal with this newsletter is to inform our community with whatever we know about the vaccination, conditions in the County and cases at Imagine. Today’s newsletter will cover:
- Update on the vaccine for Imagine clients and staff (spoiler alert, we still can’t give a date for our vaccine clinic.). This includes incomplete information about an opportunity for IHSS workers.
- Update on cases at Imagine
Vaccine Availability Update:
We still don’t have an appointment for our vaccine clinic at Imagine but we were informed by our “central point of contact” that the state has asked them to prioritize Skilled Nursing Facilities and that, as a consequence, our clinic would likely be still several weeks off. Incidentally, a central point of contact, it turns out, is a human and ours is really nice, helpful and generous with her time. We do now know that you can fill out this formand send it to Patty if you are interested in the vaccine clinic. If you are a conservator of someone we serve, please fill out this form as well and also send it to Patty. To make it easier for her to find all the forms, please use the subject line “Vaccine Consent.”
We will send an email to this list as soon as we have our clinic date. We are told we will likely have 2-3 weeks between getting notification and the clinic date, but it may be as little as 1 week. If you work at Imagine, please prepare for some scheduling turbulence as we try to make sure as many people as possible who want the vaccine can be available for it.
Another thing we don’t know is when Kaiser Permanente will make COVID-19 vaccines available to their customers who work in long-term care facilities. We are told it will be in accordance with state guidelines so we expect that to be around the time of our vaccine clinic.
We have been made aware that some, but not all, current In Home Support Services (IHSS) providers are receiving emails from the County offering COVID-19 vaccinations. Many of our employees and several family members of people we serve are IHSS providers so we encourage you to take that opportunity if it is offered. With both the Kaiser and the IHSS vaccines, we may not be informed when our employees are vaccinated. Although it is purely voluntary, we will very much appreciate anyone willing to document that they have received the vaccination. Please contact Patty, or email her the vaccination record, if you are comfortable doing so.
This opinion piece in the New York Times has one doctor’s view of why it is important to have perspective about the risk of allergic reaction to the vaccine. Also, I have a testimonial to report. My best friend received his first vaccine shot last week and I asked him to report to me on the experience, so that I could share his experience with you. As soon as the appointment ended he called me and said “I called because I promised I would, but I really have nothing to report. I didn’t even feel the needle. Man, I’m hungry.” No guarantee you will have the same experience, but I did want to share. A helpful tidbit, though- he was asked to wait in his care for 15 minutes after the shot in order to make sure there was no allergic reaction. So please schedule that time when we have our clinic.
Cases at Imagine
Since last week, we have added one new case of COVID-19 in which a client became infected. This is the third client who has tested positive and she has been closely monitored by staff who has quarantined with her. Unlike the previous case, the staff providing around the clock care is presumed immune. We very much appreciate the heroism of giving so much time. Unlike the second infected client, this one lives with other Imagine clients and has been isolated in a wing of the home.
Both clients currently infected are having moderate symptoms and showing a lot of strength. We believe that this new case was most likely infected when out of our care, which marks the first time a client is believed infected without exposure to contagious staff.
There is one other client having symptoms consistent with COVID and she had a video doctor visit today with a test scheduled for tomorrow. Staff have been reorganized to provide maximum isolation.
Another client has been quarantined after an exposure to a family member. We are providing socially distanced minimal care. Her facilitator is very proud of her for handling a remote medical appointment on her own.
We have four new cases of staff who have tested positive. Based on contact tracing standards, that there was no new exposure to clients or coworkers. Under those standards, a person is considered contagious for the 48 hours before the first sign of illness, whether symptoms or a positive test. We really appreciate everyone taking precautions, calling out as needed and protecting one another. There is little doubt that we have had many, many fewer cases because of everyone’s diligence. Please continue to stay strong and consider one another.
Staff who work with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 will receive and be trained on these guidelines from the CDC which includes guidelines for when to seek additional medical care. We monitor O2 levels, temperature and visible, subjective warning signs throughout the day and will not hesitate to seek emergency medical care if it is warranted.
The science indicates that people who have had confirmed cases and recovered are immune for a minimum of three months. While we prefer to prevent our employees from catching this disease, each person who does and recovers should be safe to work with COVID+ clients. We welcomed two new presumed immune colleagues to the team this week. Because they are safer around the virus that causes COVID-19, these friends who have recovered make it easier for us to uphold our duty to care for contagious individuals.
As always, if you have any questions, comments or concerns, please don’t hesitate to reach out.
With gratitude and sincere wishes for your health, safety and wellbeing,