It’s hard to imagine that around this time last year, COVID-19 appeared as a blip on the radar of our awareness. What we would experience in the ensuing year is mind-boggling. As we continue caring for the vulnerable population in our community, we are hopeful for a light at the end of the sometimes-bleak tunnel. For many, the vaccine represents that light.
Second-round vaccine clinics were held last week at Edelweiss Village and German Centre. Most residents across the campus have received both doses of the vaccine. We estimate 50%-60% of our staff have received at least one dose of the vaccine. Our final vaccine clinics are scheduled for the week of February 22nd.
In the wake of the vaccine administration, there appears to be renewed hope and energy among our staff and residents. Regardless, we continue to adhere to stringent infection control protocols as it typically takes about a month for the body to build immunity (protection against the virus that causes COVID-19) after vaccination.
Across the campus, one German Centre resident is in the final days of quarantine after testing positive for coronavirus. Our aggressive surveillance testing protocol is a vital component in identifying and responding to positive virus cases.
Senior Place continues to operate at full COVID-restricted capacity. Following a recent snow day in the wake of a storm, participants returned ready and eager. Thanks to the creativity of our staff, participants are actively engaged from the moment they arrive until they leave in the afternoon. It’s no wonder they are excited to return each new day.
Senior Place staff were among those who received the vaccine. Because program participants do not reside on our campus, however, they were not able to participate in our vaccine clinics per MA Dept. of Public Health regulations. It has been widely-reported that scheduling of appointments at Massachusetts vaccine sites has been a daunting task, particularly for those technologically-challenged. Whenever possible, Senior Place staff has been on hand to assist program participants and their families as they navigate these challenges.
As noted previously, one COVID-positive case among our long-term residents came to light during routine surveillance testing. Over the past two months, the small number of test-positive residents at German Centre prompted an infection control inspection by the MA Dept. of Public Health. An inspector arrived on our campus last Friday and German Centre underwent an exhaustive examination of our infection control policies and practices. When all was said and done, the inspector found no deficiencies in our infection control procedures! It is indeed gratifying to know that the diligent and painstaking efforts undertaken by staff throughout the campus have proven successful. As our Director of Nursing Austin Azeta proclaimed, “It was a team effort. I’m proud of our team.”
Our ongoing effort to install Smart TVs in all German Centre bedrooms and Edelweiss Village common rooms continues. As we await the arrival and resultant installation of additional equipment, we thank families and residents for their patience during this period of transition. We will communicate when the process is complete.
The arrival of the second vaccine last week lent a party-like atmosphere at Edelweiss Village! Residents gathered in their doorways to receive the vaccine and celebrated the milestone with one another before its administration and during the post-vaccine waiting period. It was a pleasure to witness so many smiling and eager faces.
Communal activities continue to be small but plentiful. Residents can be found gathered socially-distanced in the Bierstube for crafts, such as the Valentine’s Day crafts pictured here, and for a social hour to commemorate Wear Red Day for cardiovascular health awareness. Be sure to follow us on Facebook to see what we’re up to each week.
A Final Thought
Another Super Bowl is in the books – alas a bittersweet moment for us New Englanders as former Patriot Tom Brady went on to win his seventh Super Bowl with a new team. Before the big game, National Youth Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman recited an original poem “Chorus of the Captains” exalting honorary team captains and frontline COVID-19 heroes. With great pride in our team at Deutsches Altenheim, I would like to dedicate the final lines of her inspirational poem to our frontline workers.
Stay safe and be well,
Michael B. Lincoln
Download the UPDATE: February 12 UPDATE