COVID-19

Updated:  Friday, January 22, 2021

Vaccination

CVS Pharmacy has begun vaccinating residents and staff of the Odd Fellows Home. The pharmacists will administer the shots. They will return 21 days after each clinic to complete the booster and to vaccinate anyone who missed the previous round. Then, they will return a final time 21 days after that to complete the booster for those people in the second round.

Care Center Round 1December 30
Assisted Living Round 1January 13
Care Center Round 2January 20
Assisted Living Round 2TBA
Care Center Round 3TBA
Assisted Living Round 3TBA
Apartments Round 1TBA
Apartments Round 2TBA
Apartments Round3TBA
Vaccination Clinic Dates

On December 1, 2020, the CDC Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) voted to include health care workers and long-term care residents at the highest level of priority for the first distributions of a COVID-19 vaccination.   The FDA has issued emergency use approval of the COVID-19 vaccine.   The Governor of the State of Washington and the Washington State Department of Health are currently working on the protocol for distributing the first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to employees and residents of nursing homes and assisted living facilities.   COVID-19 vaccination is believed to help protect the health, safety and welfare of our employees and residents, and help to reduce staffing burdens from sickness-related absences. 

Given the extensive risk of significant injury and death that COVID-19 presents, government and health officials are encouraging all residents and employees who live and work in communities like ours to obtain a COVID-19 vaccination as soon as it becomes available.  At this time, we are encouraging all staff and residents to obtain a COVID-19 vaccination, to the extent that the vaccine is made available.

The State of Washington is expecting to receive shipment of 60,000 Pfizer vaccines during the week of December 13, and an additional 120,000 Moderna vaccines during the week of December 20. The Department of Health has selected the Pfizer vaccine to be given in long term care facilities. The state’s vaccination program will begin on December 28 and will be free of charge.

Long term care is at the center of the pandemic.  In Washington alone, there have been 13,338 cases with 2,900 deaths and those numbers are rising.  Long term care facilities account for 52% of all the deaths in Washington.  Help us protect our residents!

Were vaccines tested on people like me?

  • YES
  • Vaccine trials included all adults over 18
  • 25% of participant mandated to be over 65
  • Study participants included at least 25% of people with high blood pressure, diabetes, HIV and cancer
  • No exclusions for disease or medication (except immune suppression)
  • Exception: Unfortunately, the vaccine studies did not include pregnant people

What type of reactions have been reported after vaccine dose?

  • Common reactions: sore arm, headache, fever, all last less than 48 hours.  (Similar reactions after Shingrex and influenza vaccine)
  • Rare reactions:
    • Anaphylaxis: 21 cases out of over 2,000,000 doses
    • If you have a history of severe allergies or anaphylaxis, recommend discussion with your PCP and 30 minutes of observation after receiving the vaccine
    • People with allergies and anaphylaxis have received the vaccine with no issues.

Why should I get the vaccine now versus “wait and see”?

  • You are not the first: 15.1 million people have received the vaccine since December
  • CDC, V-Safe, and VAERS are monitoring safety
  • Last week in the US 22,000 people died of COVID-19 in the US, and the cases are rising
  • Vaccines take 4-5 weeks to protect you fully
  • New COVID-19 strains are more contagious

Why is it important for Long Term Care workers to get the vaccine?

  • Nursing home workers face very high risk of infection due to role in direct patient care
  • Nursing home workers are essential – they can’t work from home, and must be out and among people which is risky
  • Nursing home workers can bring COVID-19 into the facility and infect residents
  • Despite everything that is being done to protect our residents, we have been unable to keep CODVID-19 out of the facility
  • Once inside the facility, COVID-19 can spread rapidly

Is the vaccine safe for older adults?

  • During testing, 15,921 participants over the age of 55 with no safety concerns
  • There were 20 cases of COVID-19 in people over 65, 19 of those were people that received the placebo.

Does mRNA change your DNA?

  • NO
  • mRNA is a signal to your cell. It stays in the outer part of our cell.  It does not enter the nucleus where the DNA is located.
  • The mRNA in the vaccine is only present in the body for 1 – 3 days, then it degrades and the immune system is primed.
  • Other vaccines do the same thing: material enters your body, but only stays a few days.

Why do I have to wear a mask after getting immunized to COVID-19?

  • The vaccine prevents COVID-19 disease, severe disease, and death.
  • We do not know if the vaccine prevents asymptomatic infection
  • Until we know that, we must assume that vaccinated people might get COVID-19 but not know it.
  • Masks and social distancing will still be required until we have more information.

How long does vaccine immunity to COVID-19 last?

  • We don’t know. COVID-19 is a brand new human disease, we will need more time to determine how long vaccine responses last.

How will viral mutations affect COVID-19 vaccines?

  • We don’t know. Scientists are actively tracking this.  Viral mutation is always possible, so scientists factored this in when creating the vaccines.
  • Flattening the curve and reducing infections also reduces the possibility of viral mutation.

Update

At this time, we have no cases of COVID-19 among residents or staff. However, we do have four employees who are currently in quarantine due to exposure to someone who has tested positive.  At this time, we are testing all our staff regularly.

We continue to screen all residents and all employees for signs and symptoms of this disease on a daily basis.  Employees with any symptoms, whether tested or not, are sent home for a 14-day quarantine period.

Obviously, those infected individuals who present no symptoms elude our screening efforts.

East Care Center

# of residents with confirmed COVID-190
# of residents with suspected COVID-190
# of residents with symptoms of COVID-190
3 or more residents or staff with new respiratory symptomsno

West Care Center

# of residents with confirmed COVID-190
# of residents with suspected COVID-190
# of residents with symptoms of COVID-190
3 or more residents or staff with new respiratory symptomsno

Assisted Living

# of residents with confirmed COVID-190
# of residents with suspected COVID-190
# of residents with symptoms of COVID-190
3 or more residents or staff with new respiratory symptomsno

Merriam Street Apartments

# of residents with confirmed COVID-190

Clinton Street Apartments

# of residents with confirmed COVID-190

Employees

# of employees with confirmed COVID-190
# of employees with suspected COVID-190
# of employees with symptoms of COVID-190

Merriam Street Apartments Update:

RESIDENTS: We have several residents who have been exposed to COVID-19 from visitors or medical providers. Please continue to limit outside visitors to the Merriam Street Apartments and if they must be there, protect yourself by also wearing a mask. Also, if any Odd Fellows staff are in your apartment for maintenance or housekeeping, you will be required to wear a mask. Please continue good hand hygiene (washing/sanitizing) every time you leave or return to the apartment. Hand sanitizers that will be connected to the walls have been installed by elevators on each floor and by each door.

HEALTH CARE PROVIDERS: We have a new requirement that MEDICAL MASKS & FACESHIELDS or GOGGLES will be required the entire time you are in the building AND while you are in the resident apartment.  Please ensure that the residents in the apartment have masks on during your visit. The health and safety of ALL of our residents is our #1 priority and we need your help to ensure there is no further spread in this building.

FAMILY MEMBERS: We ask for your continued support in wearing masks in the halls and the apartment during your visits. Community transmission in Walla Walla is very, very high right now. Mask wearing is the simplest way to prevent transmission of the virus to your family member or other residents in the building. The mask is to protect them, not you.

New Admissions:

Due to the current COVID-19 pandemic, the Washington Odd Fellows Home is taking extra precautions to prevent potential exposure to our residents.  Any resident admitted to our skilled nursing facility from the hospital or the community will be admitted under quarantine for 14 days regardless of the presence of any symptoms.

Testing

We routinely test staff and residents for COVID-19.

What We Are Doing

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have recommended a number of steps that we have implemented to help reduce the potential for the virus to enter our building. However, we need your help in battling COVID-19.  Absolutely no one, other than residents, employees, and medical professionals is permitted anywhere in the Odd Fellows Home complex.

These restrictions are in place to protect our residents from unnecessary contact with people who may have had contact with COVID-19.  Residents of Long Term Care facilities account for 18% of cases and 61% of deaths from this disease.  We implore you to do your part to not add to that statistic.

Preventive measures and changes that the Odd Fellows Home has implemented:

  1. Limited access to the facility; all exterior doors are locked 24/7.
  2. Visitors are not allowed.
  3. All group activities are cancelled.
  4. All group dining has been stopped.
  5. All employees are screened for signs & symptoms of COVID-19 prior to work.
  6. All residents are screened for signs & symptoms of COVID-19 on a daily basis.
  7. Temporary satellite employee break rooms have been created to accommodate appropriate distancing.
  8. A separately staffed quarantine unit has been set up for newly admitted residents, residents returning from the hospital, and residents who have or are presumed to have COVID-19.
  9. All staff wear masks.
  10. All residents wear masks when they are out of their rooms.
  11. All residents wear masks while receiving care.
  12. Staff in the quarantine unit wear full PPE.
  13. Staff in other areas of the Home wear enhanced PPE.

If you are not local, you can learn about COVID-19 in the Walla  Walla area.  The Walla Walla County Health Department provides updated information at its website.

The health, safety, and care of your loved one is our priority.  Thank you for your support as we navigate this unprecedented situation.

Outdoor Visits

Walla Walla County is in Phase 2 of the recovery process; however, nursing home and assisted living facilities are still considered to be in Phase 1.  The Governor issued Proclamation 20-66 outlining the phased re-opening of long term care facilities.  There are several criteria that must be met to qualify for the relaxing of the visiting restrictions that are currently in place.  Walla Walla County does not even come close to meeting these requirements.

The County must maintain a transmission rate of fewer than 75 cases/100K in order for facilities to qualify for moving to Phase 2 of the re-opening.  Walla Walla County does not meet this requirement with its current transmission rate of 754.0/100K.  In addition, the Odd Fellows Home must have a 28-day lapse since the last positive COVID-19 test; the Odd Fellows Home does not meet this requirement.  Finally, we must ensure that we have adequate staff, PPE, supplies, testing, and capacity; we do not meet this requirement, but we continually attempt to procure needed staff and supplies.

Phase 1 for re-opening long term care facilities does, however, include a provision for outdoor family visits.  As of August 12 we have been permitting outdoor visits.  These all take place on the Magnolia Patio and are be by appointment only.

There are a few rules for these visits Outdoor Visits:

  1. Outdoor visits can be accommodated, Monday through Friday from 9:00 am until noon and 1:00 pm until 3:00 pm by appointment only.  Outdoor visits are limited to thirty minutes and are subject to weather conditions.
  2. Visitors will be screened for signs and symptoms of COVID-19 prior to the visit.
  3. All visits will be supervised by a staff member.
  4. Masking, Social Distancing, and hand hygiene are mandatory.
  5. Because masking is mandatory, food and drink are not permitted during outdoor visits.
  6. The number of visitors is limited to two.
  7. Residents are limited to two visits per day.
  8. All visits will take place outdoors in a designated Visiting Area.
  9. There is no presumption of privacy for an outdoor visit.
  10. Due to risk of exposure, holding hands, hugging, kissing, or other physical contact is not allowed during visits.
  11. Residents in quarantine are ineligible for outdoor visits.
  12. Violation of social distancing and masking, and hygiene requirements will result in the family being banned from Outdoor Visits.  In addition, violations of social distancing and masking will result in a 14-day quarantine period for the resident.

No Visitors

We are currently not allowing visitors into the Odd Fellows Home.

Please know that the news about this disease is concerning for us all. We understand that communication with your loved ones is incredibly important and we encourage you to communicate with them in other ways such as the telephone, video chat, email, or social media.

We encourage families to communicate with their loved ones via FaceTime or Google Duo.  Our Activities Staff can help residents with this technology.  Please contact Lisa to help facilitate a virtual visit!

FaceTime  is a free video communication program from Apple iPhone or iPad users.

GoogleDuo is a free video communication program for anyone with a GMail account.  Download at the App Store or Play Store.

Additionally, we do not allow our residents to leave the facility with family and then return.  For the protection of our residents from this disease, no visitors really means no visitors.  Families can “visit” via FaceTime, GoogleDuo, Walkie Talkie, sign language, phone, or screaming through closed windows.  The windows to the rooms MUST REMAIN CLOSED!  A window screen does not stop a virus.

Please remember, it’s not just your family member that you are sharing things with.  If you introduce the virus, 300+ people are now at risk.  Please help us keep everyone safe and respect the restrictions.  They apply to us all.

Of course, you are welcome to bring goodies or a “care package” to your loved one.  Just ring the doorbell at the main entrance from 8:00 am until 5:00 pm, and we will meet you at the door to deliver your package!

Assisted Living News

Kari has been keeping our Assisted Living community updated with a weekly newsletter. Here are the back issues:

Apartment Visitors & Family Members:

Grocery Shopping:

Due to more COVID exposure in the Walla Walla community and increasing demands in our Admissions Department, we are no longer able to provide weekly shopping service. Most stores in the community now provide either curbside pick up and/or delivery. Please feel free to contact our Admissions Department for more information on community options available.

Visitor Restrictions:

Those of you that are using providers separate from Odd Fellows Home (including housekeepers, home health services, Hospice, etc) must communicate with your providers that they will not be allowed to come into our complex without appropriate PPE (Personal Protective Equipment, such as masks). Masks must be worn at all times. These extra measures are in place to prevent exposure to you and to the common areas within our building. If they can’t comply with this, we strongly encourage you to consider Odd Fellows housekeeping service or other providers.

Statistically, given your age YOU are more at risk than the general population and YOU more than likely would fall into the symptomatic category. Now more than ever, we need each of you to be vigilant about social distancing and wearing masks. DO NOT leave your apartment without a mask! This includes when you are in the laundry rooms, lobby area, or hallways. If you observe anyone who is not compliant with these rules, please contact the Admissions Department so we can address further. Let’s all rally together to keep this horrible virus out of our facilities. And more importantly, let’s not make YOU or Odd Fellows Home part of these statistics. We care about each of you and eagerly wait for the day when we can go back to “normal.” Until then, please take care of yourself and we ask ALL OF YOU to please keep our community SAFE!

We NEED YOUR HELP to keep this virus out of our facilities. Please do not have visitors in the apartment complex (including family) and please do not accept deliveries to your door. Please meet Fed Ex, USPS, UPS, or any food delivery drivers outside of the building.  Thank you for your support as we try to protect our residents and staff at Odd Fellows Home.