COVID-19 & FLU UPDATE FROM Chelsey Ammons, RN
Here at Care Advantage we unceasingly review and assess the processes we have in place, remaining focused on the services that we deliver and the health and safety of all involved.
Our COVID Task Force continues to meet regularly and proactively evaluate and determine ways to reinforce our already robust protocols. On July 27th, 2020 the Virginia Occupational Safety and Health (VOSH) program published and released the Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) for Infectious Disease Prevention. This standard was designed to establish requirements for employers in the Commonwealth of Virginia to control, prevent, and mitigate the spread of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Coronavirus Disease 2019, to and among employees and employers.
We are proud to report that after review of the details of these requirements, we were either meeting or exceeding the necessary elements. Our thorough and preemptive approach was evident. With the release of this standard, additional training for our employees was quickly created and extended. Throughout
the pandemic we have focused on increased communication, reinforcement, and education. This was the perfect opportunity to further build on our already strong training program. Every employee has received and will complete the mandated training on the Emergency Temporary Standard, the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19, and our Infectious Disease Preparedness and Response Plan. This training will ensure that all employees recognize the risks of SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 as well as the procedures to minimize the hazards related to the infectious disease and the mitigation of spread.
FLU SEASON – GETTING READY
With the approaching fall season, it is important to include a reminder of the importance of the Influenza
(Flu) Vaccination. The CDC recommends an annual influenza vaccination for everyone 6 months and older, who do not have contraindications. September and October are considered optimal times for obtaining the vaccination. This year, a flu vaccine will be more important than ever. It will not only reduce the risk of the flu, but also help reduce the overall impact of respiratory illnesses on the population and thus lessen the resulting burden on the already strained healthcare system during the COVID-19 pandemic.
A flu vaccine may also provide several individual health benefits, including keeping you from getting sick with flu, reducing the severity of your illness if you do get flu, and reducing your risk of a flu-associated hospitalization. A 2018 CDC supported study showed that from 2012-2015, flu vaccination among adults reduced the risk of being admitted to the hospital with the flu by 37 percent and admitted to an ICU with the flu by 82 percent. According to the CDC, during 2018-2019, flu vaccination prevented an estimated
4.4 million influenza illnesses, 2.3 million influenza-associated medical visits, 58,000 influenza-associated hospitalizations, and 3,500 influenza-associated deaths. It has been shown to reduce the risk of having to go to the doctor with the flu by 40-60 percent. You can obtain your influenza vaccination at your primary care physician, most national pharmacies, and any urgent care center. Please do your part to protect yourself and those around you.
I want close by extending gratitude to everyone that has continued to do their part to help ensure the safety of our clients, our caregivers, and our entire staff. Over the last nearly six months we have all had to quickly react and adapt to many new policies and procedures and have become accustomed to the necessary diligence involved. This has allowed us to continue to safely provide care to a very vulnerable population that needs us, now more than ever. Throughout, we have remained focused on delivering high-quality care to each individual that we serve. Each person has done their part and should be very proud of the purpose driven work that they do. We are committed, we are strong, and we are prepared.
Until our next update, be safe and be well…
Chelsey Ammons, RN
VICE PRESIDENT OF NURSING