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COVID-19 Update

 

At American Health Partners, our highest priority is to safely care for and protect residents, patients, visitors and staff in our AHC-American Health Communities, Unity Psychiatric Care hospitals and all other division locations.  We are taking every possible precaution to prevent COVID-19 infections by following the latest CDC guidelines for screening, testing, infection control and vaccinations.

Visitation

Click here for visitation status of all AHC communities.

All AHC and Unity Psychiatric Care locations are following visitation guidelines mandated by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). Currently, CMS allows nursing homes to offer in-person visits and certain communal resident activities if it has been free of COVID-19 cases among staff and residents for 14 consecutive days.

Many of our facilities have met the CMS guidelines and are scheduling visits with residents and patients by appointment. However, if the county positivity rate for COVID-19 is above 10%, visits may be restricted to outdoor visits or compassionate care situations only. Contact your local AHC facility to find out its current visitation availability and processes.

Vaccine Administration

As of March 2, we have held two free vaccination clinics for the residents, patients and staff at all of our AHC locations. We have also been offering free vaccines to frontline personnel at all other divisions. Below are some frequently asked questions (FAQs) about our patient and staff vaccination campaign.  You can also learn more facts about the different COVID-19 vaccines on the CDC website.

COVID-19 Vaccine FAQ

Almost every adult 18 and over should get the COVID-19 vaccine. The vaccine is the smartest, safest way to protect yourself and the people you care about from getting severely sick if contracting COVID-19. Both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines were recently approved by the FDA by an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) order. Both vaccines have been determined safe and 95% effective in recent clinical trials involving more than 70,000 patients. (If you’re pregnant, have a compromised immune system or have had severe allergic reactions, consult your doctor before getting the vaccine). For more information visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website: CDC Website - COVID-19

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) of the U.S. has made two vaccines available under an emergency access mechanism called an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA). The EUA is supported by a declaration from Health and Human Services (HHS) that justifies the emergency use of drugs during the COVID-19 pandemic. The determination was made that the potential benefits outweighed any known or potential risks of the product during the pandemic. For more information visit the FDA website: FDA/covid-19-vaccines.

The FDA’s approval process for vaccines is rigorous, thorough and effective. The two COVID-19 vaccines have been shown to be safe and effective as determined by data from the manufacturers and findings from large clinical trials. These vaccines are based on decades of sound scientific research. This clinical foundation—combined with the resources of Operation Warp Speed—brought about unprecedented collaboration between government agencies and pharmaceutical companies to make rapid development of these vaccines possible. No widespread, serious side effects have been reported. However, all COVID-19 vaccinations will still be continually monitored by health officials to make sure any rare side effects are identified. We encourage all employees to get vaccinated as soon as the vaccine is available. It is the right thing to do to protect yourself and the people you care about from COVID-19. For more information visit the FDA website: FDA/covid-19-vaccines.

Under the CDC’s directive, AHC’s residents, patients and frontline caregivers will be among the first to receive the vaccine. Walgreens, CVS and, our company’s pharmacy, AmPharm are AHC’s partners in the initial phase of vaccine administration. Vaccination clinics have already begun at AHC communities. We encourage all employees to get vaccinated as soon as the vaccine is available to avoid a delay that may jeopardize the safety of yourself and others.

Yes, the COVID-19 vaccine is free to any qualified individual who wishes to get one.

Some people may experience a headache, feel tired, or have redness and soreness around the injection site. These symptoms usually go away within a couple of days. These side effects are a sign that your immune system is doing exactly what it is supposed to do. It’s building up protection against disease. Few serious problems have been associated with the COVID-19 vaccination, according to the CDC.

Yes. Experts say we will need to continue these safety practices until at least 70% of the population gets vaccinated, which may take many months. It’s possible that people who are vaccinated can still get infected with the coronavirus and spread it to others, even if they have no symptoms of COVID-19 themselves. While experts continue studying the degree and duration of protection the COVID-19 vaccines provide, we all must continue to wear masks over our mouth and nose in public spaces, wash and/or sanitize our hands, and stay at least 6 feet away from others outside of our direct care. Again, getting the COVID-19 vaccination and following CDC recommendations for how to protect yourself and others provide the best protection from getting COVID-19. 

It depends on which vaccine you receive. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine is administered in one dose and only requires one shot. Both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines require two shots. The first shot starts building protection, but everyone will need a second shot up to 28 days later to get the most protection the vaccine can offer. Two doses complete the immune-system training that enables the body to best fight the virus. In clinical trials, getting both shots has proven to be 95% effective in preventing serious illness from COVID-19. Newer vaccines may only require one shot. For more information visits the CDC website: CDC Website - COVID-19.

No, it is not possible to get COVID-19 from the vaccine because it does not contain any virus. Instead, this type of vaccine mimics the virus, so our immune system learns to recognize the virus and make antibodies to protect against it. For more information visits the CDC website: CDC Website - COVID-19.

You are unlikely to get COVID-19 after getting both vaccines, but there is a chance that you could still get infected with the coronavirus and not develop COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus. So, to prevent you from potentially infecting others who have not been vaccinated, you will still need to social distance, wear a mask, and wash your hands frequently.

We don’t yet know how long the vaccine will continue to fight off the virus or whether booster shots will be needed in the future. We do know that a two-shot vaccine currently provides 95% effectiveness against COVID-19.

Yes. Health experts recommend that to best protect yourself from COVID-19, you should receive one of the vaccines approved by the FDA by an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) order. That is recommended even if you have already had a coronavirus infection. The CDC - COVID-19/reinfection has confirmed several cases where individuals became ill with COVID-19 a second time. It’s still unclear how long a person’s immunity may last after recovering from COVID-19.

There is a risk that you would not have that option. The Tennessee Health Department has made special arrangements for AHC residents, patients and employees to be among the first to receive the COVID-19 vaccine and be protected against the coronavirus. If you do not receive both shots during our first on-site vaccine clinics, we cannot be sure when a vaccine will be available to you since quantities are limited at this time. That’s why we are encouraging our residents, patients and employees to take advantage of this opportunity to get both doses of one of the COVID-19 vaccines approved by the FDA by an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) order during the first clinics held at our AHC communities and other locations.

Health experts say you should receive the second dose of the vaccination within three to four weeks of receiving the first shot, depending on which formula of the vaccine you get.

Without both shots, you are not fully protected and will need to begin the two-shot protocol again. Keep in mind that vaccines are in limited supply and not anticipated to be available to the general public until mid to late 2021.

The vaccine supply is limited and those who receive the first shot will have the second reserved for them, since both are required for optimal immunization. If you don’t get the first dose when it’s offered, there is no guarantee we’ll have enough extra vaccine to give shots to those who missed it. To ensure enough vaccine is available for everyone, it’s important for everyone who is eligible to get both doses of one of the COVID-19 vaccines approved by the FDA by an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) order when the clinics are initially held at our AHC communities and other locations.

You need to complete the two-shot regimen of the vaccine formula you started. If you are unable to do that, you may have to wait several months to start again with another formula and complete that two-shot regimen for optimum protection.

*If you have additional questions please send an email to: VaccineQuestions@AmHealthPartners.com

Ongoing Protocols

We will also continue infection prevention and control measures in accordance with guidance provided by the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and regulatory requirements of the federal government (CMS).  These protocols include testing, isolating and treating any resident who contracts COVID-19. Our staff is well prepared to provide the best treatment possible, while also stopping the virus from spreading to other residents or staff. Some of the actions we have implemented are outlined below.

  • Temperature screenings for fever are required for anyone seeking to enter our facilities.
  • Testing all new patients and residents for COVID-19 and keeping those individuals isolated until test results are returned, usually within 24-48 hours.
  • Increasing disinfection of frequently touched surfaces.
  • Maintaining social distance and mask wearing.
  • Emphasizing proper hand washing and sneeze and cough etiquette.
  • Maintaining an adequate supply of personal protective equipment, including masks, gloves, etc.
  • Requiring staff to remain at home if they have any symptoms of an illness or have a family member with symptoms or exposure.
  • Notifying families within 12 hours of confirming any new case of COVID-19 in our community, while continuing to protect patient and staff privacy.

Helpful Resources for Employees (Click here)

More Information Sources

Tennessee COVID-19 Public Information Hotlines:
833-556-2476 & 877-857-2945 
Available 10 AM – 10 PM CST Daily

Alabama COVID-19 24/7 Hotline:
888-264-2256 
Call for testing sites and hours of operation.

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