Dear Residents and Family Members & Staff,
As we reported in the December-January update: The COVID Virus has mutated again and now we have the Emergence of Omicron. On November 24, 2021, a new variant of SARS-CoV-2, was reported to the World Health Organization (WHO). This new variant was first detected in specimens collected on November 11, 2021 in Botswana and on November 14, 2021 in South Africa.
At last update, Delta was still the major, most often seen variant of the COVID Virus. Omicron has taken hold, and in most cases we now see in our area that it is now the major dominate strain effecting our communities. Overall, nursing homes throughout the country have experienced an alarming spike in new COVID cases in recent weeks due to community spread among the general population. In mid- January, 32,061 nursing home residents tested positive for COVID-19 – nearly doubling the previous week’s numbers. Staff case counts hit their highest ever as well, reaching 57,253 – more than double the previous staff case count record, set in December of 2020. Fortunately, the vaccines appear to be working against Omicron, but we must remain vigilant and steadfast on vaccinating and boosting as many residents and staff members as quickly as possible. Please remember, like the Flu Vaccine – the COVID vaccine does not protect someone 100% from getting the virus, it was designed to reduce extreme (death, hospitalization) effects of the virus. So for those holding out from vaccination saying – “why should I get it – you got the vaccine and you still got it.” Please look at the numbers: 99% of UNVACCINATED people are who are being admitted to the hospital from their significant symptoms and are those who have died from this virus. A quick look at the graph below shows the dramatic effect of what is affecting the community at large will make its way into Nursing Homes in that community. We continue to be steadfast in our infection control systems:
- Screening anyone who enters the facility
- Wearing masks and other PPE as required
- Holding Vaccination and Booster Clinics for our residents and staff
- Participating with our State’s Department of Public Health on updates and new trends
Stay healthy. At this writing, the Omicron strain appears to be burning itself out and cases are stabilizing again. Our hope is that this trend continues.