Thank you for all you and your teams are doing in our continued fight against COVID-19. In our battle to stop community spread and prevent major hotspots in our sector, we must remain vigilant. I know at work you and your teams are being vigilant. Thank you. As you know, the biggest indicator of COVID-19 entering a healthcare setting is the prevalence of COVID-19 in the surrounding community. Therefore, as COVID-19 spreads in the community, it also spreads in healthcare settings. While there are outbreaks, the long-term care sector is mostly preventing bigger hotspots through testing and improved infection control practices. Today there is an outbreak of at least one COVID-19 case in about 193 of the 227 skilled nursing and rehabilitation centers and in about 123 of the several hundred larger assisted living campuses in Maryland.
The Vaccine: Nationally over a million doses of COVID-19 Vaccine have been administered. In these early days of vaccination in Maryland Skilled Nursing and Rehabilitation Centers, many tens of thousands of first doses have been administered to Marylanders in need, and to those who care for them. Let me tell you, it was special to be there as people received their first doses last week, thank you Governor Hogan:
Additionally, hundreds of thousands of doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been delivered or are in route to Maryland; critically important because it will take about one million doses to vaccinate those most in need and frontline medical staff and first responders here. The national CVS/Walgreens vaccination program will take several weeks. There will be bumps and vaccine distribution will not go perfectly, eventually everyone will get the vaccine. Now is the time to focus on appreciating this new dawn, encouraging residents, patients and staff to take the vaccine.
On Monoclonal Antibody Treatment: This week, we are continuing to work with the Maryland Department of Health (MDH), other associations, and our commercial pharmacy and infusion partners to get this treatment to residents and patients in our sector as clinically ordered and directed. Stay tuned for more details. Keep in touch with your Remedi contact now.
As detailed information becomes available on the national monoclonal antibody treatment program we will alert you. Please look for an article in an upcoming HFAM Sector Update. We will continue to coordinate with Remedi, Omnicare, Advanced PICC, and others in the days and weeks ahead. I realize the timing of the rollout of this treatment is not ideal to be occurring at the same time as the vaccination rollout. In the coming weeks, success will be getting this treatment to residents and patients; failure will be having hundreds of unused doses.
Fit Testing: HFAM, along with LifeBridge Health conducted four days of N95 Mask Fit Test Training. Over 20 skilled nursing centers from across the state, sent team members to the hour long train-the trainer sessions. Watch your emails and HFAM’s COVID Alerts for more information and upcoming training dates. It is a best practice for a professional with a properly fitted (and tested) mask to work the COVID positive unit.
As always and most important:
- People first, quality counts.
- Be prepared to deploy people and PPE around your organization.
- Our sector MUST double our efforts on infectious disease protocol, staffing, PPE, observation, and testing.
- Train, train, and train teams again on infectious disease protocol.
- Recognize that COVID-19 fatigue is an issue across the county, not just in our sector.
- Overcommunicate with residents, patients, families, staff, and government partners.
- Sound alarms early.
- Know that WE WILL get through this and that you are saving lives!
- Work with your hospital partners, and coordinate with local and state regulatory partners.
- Take and document your action; keep a timeline.
CLICK HERE for the Dr. Katz Video, and please see the Donning and Doffing Checklist we first distributed several months ago.
Onward together friends, marathon and not sprint. Keep focusing on quality. Celebrate the small wins.