This is the seventh-and-a-half edition of our 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:
- The situation in Santa Cruz County
- Update on the vaccine for Imagine clients and staff, with some advice and resources.
- Update on the safety of the vaccines
- Update on cases at Imagine
Santa Cruz County: The surge in cases caused by holiday travel and, possible, new variants of the virus, has hit Santa Cruz County especially hard. You can read a summary of a press conference held by the County here. There is evidence that this big surge has peaked and we can hope that with the vaccines it will not get this bad again. But it is still very dangerous out there. Here are some places where you can track the surge if you are really, really nerdy. This website gives statewide and county-by-county data (and as of this writing shows that the most recent week had 12.6% fewer cases than the one before.). This is the County’s own website which is updated less reliably but has deeper information on the local situation. The number of “Active Cases” reflect how easy it would be to catch this virus if you are not careful in public. As I’m writing this, the County has 3,017 active cases, the highest number I have seen on this site since the pandemic began. You can also get information there about the County’s vaccine program, although that page isn’t all that helpful, in my opinion.
Vaccine Availability Update: Y’all, I am frustrated too that we are still waiting for our vaccination clinic date. We have company in that. We are enrolled in the Federal Pharmacy Partnership (FPP,) partnered with CVS. As you can see on their report, they project that the first doses will be delivered to all of their customers by 1/25. Since Camphill California is scheduled to receive their first clinic 1/26 and we aren’t scheduled yet, it is clear that deadline will slip. Hopefully not by much. We’ll keep working on our clinic to make that available for those still in need and desire of the vaccine when that date comes.
Whenever the clinic will be, if you plan to participate, please fill out this formif you haven’t already. If you are a conservator enrolling for a loved one and haven’t done so, please also fill out this form. Forms can be printed out and dropped off at the office or scanned and emailed to Patty. And thank you to the many of you who already have.
Kaiser Permanente has let us know that our employees who are Kaiser members can sign up now for the vaccine. Call either the Watsonville (831) 768-6600 or Scotts Valley (831) 430-2700 General office number and explain that you work for Imagine Supported Living Services and are a caregiver eligible for Phase 1a of the vaccine program and have your member ID ready. At least one Imagine employee has received his first dose this way. Others, including your humble correspondent, have called this program, been told someone would call back in 24-48 hours and never received that call. It may be that Kaiser is prioritizing age cohort over professional claims to Phase 1(a).
There is a program for Santa Clara County caregivers through which one of our colleagues, despite working in Santa Cruz County, received her first vaccine. The sign-up is here. You will need a letter confirming your job, and we will be happy to provide one. In fact, here you go. (See below for a description of the letter.)
Some local IHSS providers have already received their vaccines through the County’s program. Others have tried without success so far.
Those who receive their healthcare through Sutter Health/PAMF also have access to vaccination but that program is also not yet working well for most.
We encourage anyone who wants the vaccine to get it however you can, with Imagine’s clinic as a fallback. Although this is entirely at your own discretion, we do ask that you let us know if you are vaccinated through these other venues. First, so that we don’t expect for the clinic and second, it is really helpful for us to know that some of our people are safer from COVID-19. The best person to let know when you have been vaccinated is Patty and you can email her here.
If you need to prove that you belong in Phase 1a, we have prepared the attached letter. On the honor system, this letter is just for employees and Family Home Providers at Imagine. It scanned crooked and, unfortunately, I can’t fix it in time for this letter (maybe it adds authenticity?) but if you would like a properly scanned copy, email me beginning tomorrow, Tuesday 1/19.
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.
Update on the safety of the Pfizer and Moderna Vaccines: Finally, we do want to address concerns about anaphylaxis (severe allergic reaction) to the COVID-19 vaccines. You may have heard that there have been more cases of severe reaction than were expected. This article from the CDC discussed the cases with the Pfizer vaccine. This is very rare (less than 1/1000 of 1% of vaccinations.) This CDC page describes what people giving shots should do to prepare so that these cases can be managed safely. Apparently, one batch of the Moderna vaccine caused an unusual number of severe allergic reactions (we couldn’t find the actual number) and has been put on hold. As we understand it. the Imagine clinic will receive the Pfizer vaccines but both are generally safe. We’ll let you know of any emerging concerns. We are really excited for our clients and coworkers to be safer from COVID-19. But we trust all of you to make your own decisions and want to provide true information.
Cases at Imagine
Since last week, we have added one new case of COVID-19 in which a client became infected. For various reasons, we are not sure if this is a new case or if the client has already recovered. This is the fifth client who has tested positive and we are having trouble tracking how he may have become infected. At least two of three active cases last week have recovered and the third may have also. We remain vigilant for all five clients who have become infected and are being very cautious.
The client who was exposed due to our error is in her 12th day of quarantine and not showing symptoms. We will be very glad if our error did not cause any further infections, obviously.
We have done a lot of testing and begun many new quarantines since last week’s newsletter, but I’m glad to report that as of this writing, there are no new cases of COVID-19 among Imagine employees, but one Family Home Provider did test positive on the 9th. One of her clients is quarantining with his family and the other reported doing well in separate quarters in the home. We wish all three health.
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 now have 17 of our friends and coworkers who can do so. 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 contact me.
With gratitude and sincere wishes for your health, safety and wellbeing,