Family Letter – Vaccine Mandates
Dear Residents and Families,
As we close out the summer, it has been gratifying to watch our residents and families resume summer activities and experience the simple joy of being together. Our goal is to continue to offer more amenities, celebrations, and entertainment. Clearly, seeing such a renewed sense of normalcy is a wonderful sight to behold! However, we are very cognizant of the fact that COVID cases are rising throughout the country and we are witnessing the acceleration of the contagious Delta variant. Based on the new guidelines released last week by MA DPH and EOEA, we would like to share with you our updated infection control practices effective immediately.
We believe strongly that vaccination is the most important action we can do to ensure the safety of our residents and staff. At the end of June, we became the first long-term care provider group in Massachusetts to announce a vaccine mandate for all our employees. We have now updated our policies to be aligned with DPH’s mandate that all employees must be fully vaccinated by October 10th. We will be applying this same policy to all providers, contractors, and vendors who visit our residences. Thankfully, about 80% of all employees have already chosen to get vaccinated. We plan to work closely with the rest of our employees to get to 100%.
Universal Mask Protocol
DPH and EOEA has reinstituted a universal mask protocol for all staff, residents, and visitors, regardless of vaccination status, while in the building. We ask for your help in complying with this policy when you are visiting your loved ones in our residences.
Surveillance testing has been a useful tool in catching isolated cases of COVID-19 in our staff and preventing spread in our residences. Recent changes to our testing protocols include:
- Increasing the frequency of regular staff testing, regardless of vaccination status
- Testing of staff upon returning from vacation
- Testing of new admissions or returning residents who were out of the building for at least 24 hours
We are also now offering our visitors the opportunity to get tested prior to entering our buildings. The BinaxNOW test is a rapid antigen test that takes 15 minutes to obtain the results.
I am truly grateful to our amazing staff for their continued hard work in caring for our residents. I also appreciate your support and cooperation in adhering to these infection control policies. Together, I am confident we can keep our residents, our families, our staff, and the surrounding community safe and healthy.