2021 COVID Updates

In this post, we have included all of the communications that were sent out this year regarding COVID-19 information, precautions, and policy updates.


12/3/21

The CDC announced recently that it is now recommending a booster shot for anyone over 18 years old who received their second shot more than 6 months ago. This is because the vaccine provides less protection over time.


https://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2021/s1129-booster-recommendations.html


Please send us a picture of the vaccination card when you get your booster by emailing hr169@homeinstead.com


10/29/21

As the colder months are approaching, we are seeing more cases where staff members show some respiratory symptoms. Whenever you have respiratory symptoms (fever, body aches, sore through, coughing etc), we recommend getting tested for COVID. State sites have plenty of availability and PCR test results are usually back in 24-16 hours. You can find more information here: https://covid.ri.gov/testing.


We also heard from some of you asking whether booster shots are required. Currently, there is no requirement from the state or from Home Instead regarding boosters. In fact, boosters are only available currently for those over 65 and those who have compromised immunity. But they are not required, just available. Here is more information: https://covid.ri.gov/boosterdoses.


8/18/21

I am reaching out to provide yet another COVID-19 update to you all. Unfortunately, our country is experiencing a significant surge of the more transmissible Delta variant of the COVID-19 virus. Daily new cases are over 125,000 in the US now, a level not seen since Feb 1, 2021. There are many places around the country where they are running out of hospital beds again (Florida, Texas, Louisiana). Fortunately, due to higher vaccination rates in Rhode Island, our surge is less pronounced here but still very concerning. The daily average new cases are 237 which is more than double from 2 weeks ago.


What we know is that the vaccine protects against serious illness that could be caused by the delta variant but even vaccinated people are able to transmit the virus on to others (albeit less than unvaccinated people).


I want to reiterate again the three Ws that our Governor has been talking about from the beginning: Wear a mask, wash your hands and watch your distance. Regarding masks, as we communicated previously, the mandatefrom the state is that we wear a surgical mask at all times while on shift, even if both you and your client are fully vaccinated. That is because we must use all tools at our disposal to curb the spread of the virus and keep everyone safe.


Due to the surge in cases, Governor McKee last Tuesday announced that everyone in the healthcare sector (that includes all hospitals and nursing homes and clinics and all home care agencies etc) must be vaccinated by October 1, 2021. Those who are not vaccinated yet must get vaccinated as soon as possible so that they are fully vaccinated by Oct 1 (the second dose is typically scheduled 3 week out for the Pfizer vaccine and 4 weeks out for the Moderna vaccine). Until someone is fully vaccinated (which is defined as two weeks after the second dose or the only dose for the Johnson and Johnson vaccine), they must get tested twice every week at one of the many available testing sites where results are available either while you wait or the next day. Please find more information here: https://covid.ri.gov/testing


By way of reference, please find the link to the Providence Journal article that described the new state mandate for the entire healthcare sector: https://www.providencejournal.com/story/news/local/2021/08/10/ri-require-covid-vaccines-health-care-workers/5549673001/


If you are NOT currently fully vaccinated, please plan to get tested twice per week (once for this week since it is Wednesday today). Please use this link to communicate to us your test results every time you get them: https://hipaa.jotform.com/Hisc169/covidtestresults


If you have questions about vaccines, please feel free to reach out to the engagement team (Barbara, Tara or Crystal) for additional information about this. We are happy to support you in any way we can to comply with this state mandate that is impacting us all.


If you are not able to locate your white vaccination card, please know that there is an electronic tool provided by the state to look up that information. It is located here: https://portal.ri.gov/VaccineRecord


7/13/21

Per updated guidelines from the Rhode Island Department of Health and OSHA, we are now requiring all staff to wear surgical masks instead of cloth masks when on shift with a client. The home is considered a healthcare setting and therefore staff must wear a surgical masks during shift (even if staff is vaccinated and the client is vaccinated as well) except when not in the same room with the client. Please note that we are in the process of delivering surgical masks to all clients in the coming days. We are providing enough masks through the end of the month (a new surgical mask should be worn for each shift). We will also let our clients know about the policy update. Going forward, clients can choose to provide surgical masks themselves or ask us to provide them and include the cost in the invoice.


Please let us know if you have any questions.


6/18/21

I have an update regarding mask wearing guidelines from the Rhode Island Department of Health. The RIDOH issued guidance to home care agencies reiterating that the client’s home or the facility where the client is located is considered a healthcare setting. Therefore, they require home care agency staff to wear a mask while on shift (even though you and/or your client may be vaccinated).


Our state has done a really good job making vaccination accessible and convenient and we have reached one of the highest vaccination rates in the nation. If you are looking for information about the vaccine and where you can get a shot, please find the following resource from RIDOH: C19VaccineRI.org. They have a lot more local options including drive-through location now.


Please let me know if you have any questions. Thank you for the meaningful work you do every day with your clients.


5/14/21

As you may have seen in the news, the CDC issued updated guidance yesterday indicating that it is safe for fully vaccinated individuals to not wear a mask anymore in many situations. Here is the CDC guidance: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/participate-in-activities.html


However, the CDC also said that an individual must comply with state and local as well as business laws. Please note that Rhode Island Department of Health has not adopted the CDC guidelines yet. We will be in touch once RIDOH changes their guidance regarding mask wearing in the state of Rhode Island.


Also, we care for the most vulnerable population and must therefore take the most cautious approach in order to protect everyone's health.


Please continue to follow existing protocols (wearing masks, hand hygiene etc) until further notice.


3/30/21

Hi all I wanted to provide an update on a very encouraging study that was just published yesterday by the CDC. This study that conducted in the last few months, during high levels of transmission around the country. The study found that front line workers experienced 80% real world protection after 1 dose and 90% protection after 2nd dose. This is protection from infection, not only symptoms which is excellent news because the initial trials did not look at infections, only symptoms. This is EXCELLENT news because it proves that vaccines are truly effective against getting infected by COVID-19. Please see the link: https://apple.news/AdOc6jxowRGyRGBXvhSxrog If you need any additional information about vaccines, please feel free to call the office.

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