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“The seniors that are most at risk are in our long-term care facilities,” said Katrina Hotrum-Lopez, secretary of Aging and Long Term Services Department said. “Whatever we’re doing on the outside is impacting those who don’t have a voice on the inside. and so I know we’re tired of this virus but we need to stay vigilant and understand this delta variant is even more risky than the COVID-19 we were definitely facing in the first round.”
Secretary Hotrum-Lopez said there has been a jump in positivity rates at nursing homes and assisted living facilities where in the last few months, those rates were near zero. Since late April, long-term care facilities in the state have seen 147 COVID-19 cases among staff. Ninety-six of those individuals were unvaccinated.
Genesis, the state’s largest provider of long-term care facilities in the state, and Good Samaritan are requiring staff and all onsite vendors to be vaccinated. It’s a move the state applauds and hopes other providers in the state follow.
“It’s really the staff that are bringing in the virus to the residents and into these communities. And so we’re really focusing on staff and getting those vaccination rates up because you know that’s how we’re going to mitigate spread and save lives,” said Hotrum-Lopez.
About 71% of nursing home employees in the state are vaccinated, about 86% of residents are. With about half of assisted living homes in the state reporting, about 80% of staff as assisted living facilities are vaccinated, about 91% of residents are.
Genesis is requiring its staff to get the one-shot Johnson and Johnson vaccine by August 23 and those getting a two-shot vaccine to have their second dose by September 22.