Dear Colleagues, Residents, Families, and Friends,
The Biden Administration’s first two goals of their COVID-19 response strategy are to “restore trust with the American people” and to “mount a safe, effective, comprehensive vaccination campaign.”
The Biden Administration’s mission is to engage both public and private sectors in addressing vaccine hesitancy and countering mis- and disinformation with messages “anchored by science and fact-based public health guidance.” Special attention will focus on diverse, high-risk and hard-to-reach populations, delivering information via “trusted local messengers” and simplifying the vaccination process while reinforcing basic COVID-19 prevention measures.
On a local and CSP level, while the vaccine gives us all added hope, the process of vaccination has created many questions. In collaboration with Kirsten Carr, MD, CSP’s Medical Director, we offer the best knowledge we have to date:
1. When and where will I get a vaccine if I don’t live in senior living or affordable housing and am not a healthcare worker (paid or unpaid) or teacher?
As we know, Kaiser Permanente, Legacy, Providence, and OHSU have pooled their current vaccine allocation and have initiated clinics at the Oregon Convention Center. There are other clinics outside of Multnomah County as well. Most people will receive the vaccine through a clinic of this nature, pharmacy (Walgreen’s or CVS) or physician office.
We’ve learned that some of our community are very creative and have found ways to receive the vaccine, even though they are not part of the 1a group. For the safety of all, we encourage everyone to support the process as it exists in Oregon today, despite its challenges. Timing depends on the amount of vaccine available, then organization, distribution, and administration once more doses are received in our state.
The Oregon vaccine sign up website is still the best bet (yes, the system crashes, oy vey, but please keep trying): https://covidvaccine.oregon.gov/
To learn who is eligible and when: https://sharedsystems.dhsoha.state.or.us/DHSForms/Served/le3527A.pdf
2. How will new residents and staff get vaccinated if they have not been, after the vaccine clinics are completed at CSP?
Long-term care providers are working with our other health care compadres, pharmacies, trade associations and government agencies such as the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) and Department of Human Services (DHS) to determine next steps. Stay tuned.
3. Will CSP be able to host vaccine clinics for staff and resident families, trustees and other volunteers?
We are exploring the possibilities as part of the next step determination above. Stay tuned.
4. Can CSP residents resume regular activity and socializing once vaccinated?/ Can I visit my loved one at CSP once I’m vaccinated?/Can I host gatherings in my home once I’m vaccinated?
We are still bound by risk category based on the rate of positivity in our county. At this time, with the blessing of both OHA and DHS, RJHC/HSCL and RSM may resume outdoor visitation, small group dining and activities. Compassionate care visits continue indoors.
As we’ve shared time and time again, the real ticket to return to our society’s previous standard of quality of life is TIME, MASKING, SOCIAL DISTANCING, and WASHING/SANITIZING HANDS. Our choices now as individuals within the CSP and greater community will have a profound impact on the duration of our separation.
It is my hope and prayer that by Rosh Hashanah, we will be able to experience a bit more togetherness. But, Dr. Carr is correct: “It is very realistic that it will take up to two years for us to move into a phase of control over this virus where we are able to interact in a way that seems “normal” again.”
5. Will the variants of the virus we’re hearing about affect the effectiveness of the vaccine?
So far, it appears the vaccines currently available from Pfizer and Moderna are effective against the new variants. Because viruses have a short life, they are able to evolve quite quickly. The strongest viruses will be the ones that are slightly different than our current immunity. As those stronger and variant strains survive, our treatments to prevent them may not work.
So, the best defense is a great offense – we must get as many people immunized to get the infection rate as low as possible to prevent further mutations of this virus to propagate.
6. Will testing still occur routinely at CSP?
Yes. As stated above, long-term care staff (and residents when applicable), will be tested routinely based on the risk category based on the rate of positivity in our county. At this time, that is weekly.
7. What is the update on masking for the general community outside of healthcare?
The guidance as it stands is for the community at large to wear at least two-ply cotton masks and limit time in stores including the grocery store.
8. What about monoclonal and other antibody therapies for those who test positive?
There are studies showing promise from both Eli Lilly and Regeneron, but neither take the place of vaccination!!
On the CSP Forefront:
On behalf of all CSP staff, deep gratitude to Marc Blattner and
Federation for the generous gift of $100 for each employee.
This is a true expression of Gemilut Hasadim, of loving kindness.
CSP COVID Testing: Week of January 18-24, 2021:
No new positive results to date at RSM, RJHC/HSCL or within SIHC.
Testing in process for week of January 25-31, 2021.
Most staff who tested positive in the recent past have recovered and returned to work. Please join me in sending healing energy to those beloved team members who continue to recuperate at home under the supervision of their physician.
…And please, let’s keep doing all we can to prevent the spread and shorten the duration of this pandemic:
- Wear the appropriate PPE (mask/shield/gown) as instructed.
- Avoid touching your face.
- Wash Hands for 20 seconds with soap/water and use hand sanitizer.
- Social Distancing/staying home if possible.
- Self-isolating if showing any signs or symptoms of COVID-19.
- Seek medical assistance as necessary.
As always, if you have any questions, please feel free to contact the campus administrators or me. We will assist you in any way possible.
RSM: Vivian Villegas: 1-360-936-2694
HSCL/RJHC: Krista Mattox: 503-320-0807
With love, honor, and respect,
Kimberly Fuson Kirsten Carr, MD
Chief Executive Officer Medical Director