January 27, 2022 Letter
Dear Residents, Employees, Family Members, Legal Representatives and Health Care Providers:
We are hopeful the Omicron variant is reaching its peak in the U.S. Unfortunately, county transmission rates for our locations have been at a “high/red” level for several weeks. Cases of COVID-19 due to the Omicron variant are occurring in our unvaccinated, vaccinated and boosted employees and residents. Fortunately, those who are vaccinated/boosted are experiencing milder symptoms with this variant.
We are now allowing resident visitation at all times. If one of our homes is in active outbreak status, we will post a sign on the front entry door indicating this. You may still visit during an active outbreak status or during high county transmission but we are obligated to inform you that your risk of exposure increases if you visit during these periods. A facility is deemed to be in “active outbreak” status when one of its residents or employees tests positive. The location remains in active outbreak status until it achieves 14 consecutive days with no new positive cases occurring based on our outbreak testing procedures.
The Supreme Court recently approved the federal government’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate for healthcare workers. Our employees, students, trainees, licensed practitioners, contractors and volunteers are subject to this mandate unless exempted based on religious or medical reasons. The federal government requires anyone subject to the mandate receive the first vaccine by today, January 27, 2021, and the second vaccine, if it is the two-dose Moderna or Pfizer vaccine, by February 28, 2022. Even though Indiana and Montana are subject to slightly different timelines, we are prepared to meet the earlier deadlines for all.
We have strongly encouraged our unvaccinated staff to obtain the vaccination by the dates outlined above. The company has, however, established a process where staff may request an exemption from the vaccine because of religious or medical reasons. To date, all our exemptions have been reviewed and processed. An exempted employee will be required to follow new guidelines regarding testing and enhanced personal protective equipment use while on duty.
Presently, the percentage of employees vaccinated is 80%, with some locations below or above this average. Our resident vaccination rate is currently 93%, and we are encouraging all to obtain their booster vaccine if they are eligible at this time.
If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to me, as many of you have during the pandemic. I am more than happy to answer your questions or provide you with assistance. I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dr. Shellie M. Sonnentag, DNP, AGPCNP, CD
Vice President of Clinical Services
Real Property Health Facilities Corp.