The COVID19 vaccination process at Piper Shores is well underway, and the Administrative team recently conducted a Zoom conference call with Piper Shores Independent Living Residents to answer frequently asked questions about the implications of the vaccine. Below is a summary of the vaccination Q&A posted on February 19, 2021.
Question: How is Piper Shores doing with the vaccination process?
Answer: After the upcoming March 3, 2021 vaccine clinic, we expect that nearly all residents across our campus (IL/HC/AL/MC) will have received vaccines. We know that Independent Living residents participating in the March 3 clinic will be receiving their second dose. We understand that other Independent Living residents are being vaccinated in clinics sponsored in the broader community. Of course, our Holbrook residents have completed the two-step vaccination process already. We are delighted with the overwhelming favorable response to vaccines on the part of Piper Shores’ residents.
Question: Will there be additional clinics scheduled at Piper Shores?
Answer: There are no additional vaccine clinics scheduled at this time. The clinic sessions being held for Independent Living residents have been conducted by CVS. Technically, CVS was contracted with Piper Shores to complete vaccinations of Holbrook residents and staff only. Through the diligent efforts of Leanne Fiet (C00) and Allyson Chaar (Assisted Living and Community Health Services Administrator), we were able to expand the final two clinics to include Independent Living residents who had not yet scheduled vaccination appointments in the general community.
Question: How are we doing with vaccination of Piper Shores staff?
Answer: We are pleased that 82% of eligible employees have been vaccinated. This level of participation is well in excess of many similar organizations. At present, the vaccination program for staff is voluntary. We are unaware of organizations in our field that require staff vaccinations.
Question: How will the vaccination status of residents impact re-opening measures at Piper Shores?
Answer: Throughout the pandemic, we have carefully considered both sheltering in place measures as well as measures to re-open campus access/activities/events. The Board Health & Quality of Life Committee has played an instrumental role in evaluating our stance regarding opening measures. This committee continues to serve a vital role in the decision-making process. The Board Health & Quality of Life Committee is set to meet next on March 16. It is expected that much of the discussion will center on access/activities/events impacting Independent Living. This committee will inform the Board of Directors on an on-going basis concerning these important matters.
Question: What role will our Medical Director play in the decision-making process to re-open?
Answer: Rachael Blake, MD is a member of the Board Health & Quality of Life Committee. She is among a number of health care professionals that are members of this committee. Dr. Blake actively monitors and assesses our practices in response to the pandemic. Administration meets with Dr. Blake on a regular basis to review the organization’s position regarding reopening measures as well as the overall status of COVID-19 in the broader community.
Question: What are the re-opening implications for Holbrook?
Answer: Decisions regarding re-opening access to Holbrook are dictated by the Maine
Department of Health and Human Services, Maine CDC, and the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). We continue to fully comply with these requirements. Within the requirements, there is limited flexibility to allow for relaxation of some restrictions. The Holbrook leadership team and Dr. Blake review these measures regularly. We are hopeful that the vaccination status of Holbrook residents and assigned staff will allow for further relaxing of certain measures. It is important to emphasize that the regulatory bodies make the final decisions with regard to Holbrook restrictions.
Question: Now that residents are vaccinated, what about masks? Physical distancing? Hand sanitation?
Answer: We continue to be informed about the need to mask, account for physical distancing, and hand sanitation using CDC guidance. It remains the position of CDC that all people continue to observe previous guidance and the importance of masks, physical distancing and practicing careful hand sanitation. There is not yet official guidance from the US CDC about what activities are safe for people who are fully vaccinated. In the absence of official guidance, it remains vitally important that everyone continue to follow this public health guidance. We expect that the guidance will change as more Americans become vaccinated. It is our understanding that discussions about this topic are currently underway at the CDC.
Question: Can I act differently at Piper Shores versus in the broader community?
Answer: Generally, you should continue to follow the same careful guidance whether you are on campus or in the broader community. It remains unclear at this point whether those who have been vaccinated, and are at least 14 days post second dose, might still be able to transmit the virus. As a result of this uncertainty, we will continue to follow CDC guidance. It is important to note that the level of vaccination among the Piper Shores community is much greater than the general population. For example, 16% of people in the State of Maine have received one dose of the vaccine, about 5% of the Maine population have received two doses. This suggests that the level of protection from the virus in the general community remains very low. Behaviors and practices that were identified as risky before, remain risky. One’s vaccination status should not allow for lessening of protective measures.
Question: How do we envision campus activities and events to re-open after the final clinic has been held?
Answer: We are carefully considering re-opening measures. As noted previously the Board Health & Quality of Life Committee will play an instrumental role in the decision-making process. There are a number of activities that are being considered as part of this re-opening process. These activities include the following:
- In-person dining in the Main Dining Room/Café
- Fitness programs in the Cammock Fitness Center
- Guidelines regarding the use of the pool
- Recreation events including in-person meetings
- Volunteering on campus
- Use of the Wood Shop
- Gardening (Think Spring!)
- Transportation services
- Hosting guests on campus
- Access to the campus by Personal Service Providers (PSPs)
- Other services and programs
As you note from the extensive list above there remain many opportunities to address as we consider additional re-opening measures. It is likely that re-opening measures will be phased in rather than implemented all at once. Again, our Board committee is vital in this planning process.
In summary, we are delighted that the vaccination process is well underway. We are also extremely pleased that COVID-19 has not directly impacted the health and well-being of residents and staff at Piper Shores. We remain vigilant to the potential impact of the pandemic both at Piper Shores and in the broader community. We thank you for your commitment to safe public health practices. We ask for your on-going support as we continue with our important efforts to keep everyone safe.