Please read the following message from Luthercare President & CEO Carl R. McAloose:
Luthercare has continued to carefully watch the surge in COVID-19 infections in recent weeks, both nationally and now in our area of service. The emergence of the highly contagious Delta variant has led to a rapid acceleration of community transmission in the United States, putting more Americans at increased risk, especially if they are unvaccinated (CDC.gov).
Out of the utmost concern for those we serve and in anticipation of the Food and Drug Administration’s timetable to approve a coronavirus vaccine in early fall, Luthercare will be requiring all team members at its senior living communities and child care centers to be vaccinated or receive the first dose by September 15, 2021. For those who cannot be vaccinated for medical or religious reasons, documented exemptions by medical professionals, physicians, or religious authorities will be recognized. Those receiving exemptions will be tested according to guidelines set forth by the CDC or Department of Health. While team members are encouraged to attend an on-site clinic run by Phoebe Pharmacy, staff have the option to receive the vaccine elsewhere. Employees will be offered paid time off to receive the vaccine and to recover from any side effects after receiving the vaccination. In addition, Phoebe Pharmacy has shared that they are currently able to provide our team members with their choice of the three vaccines that are authorized and recommended in the United States: Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, or Johnson & Johnson.
As we work to keep our communities safe for all, the vaccine is one of our most important tools in the fight against COVID-19. This is especially necessary to protect those who are vulnerable, including seniors, unvaccinated children, and the immunocompromised. The American Medical Association and LeadingAge, an association of not-for-profit senior service providers, are among a coalition of associations and healthcare professionals groups that are advocating for healthcare and long-term care employers to require their staff to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.
“As COVID-19 variants emerge and proliferate, it’s critical that we protect everyone who lives and works in long-term care, by ensuring staff are fully vaccinated,” Katie Smith Sloan, president and CEO of LeadingAge, has said. “Throughout the pandemic, long-term care providers have demonstrated their dedication, commitment and bravery in the face of unprecedented, challenging circumstances. They must heed the scientific evidence and do everything possible to deliver safe, quality care to the older adults and others they serve.”
LeadingAge PA’s Board of Directors released a statement on August 4 that encourages its members, such as Luthercare, to mandate vaccination for all staff because they are providing daily direct care services to those most vulnerable to coronavirus. Even fully vaccinated older adults in long-term care settings have been shown to be at risk with the new variants of COVID emerging and the presence of unvaccinated staff, LeadingAge PA noted.
The COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective at preventing COVID-19, including severe illness, hospitalization and death. The Delta variant is more contagious than previous COVID-19 strains and may cause more than twice as many infections, according to the CDC. The CDC has released updated recommendations as case counts rise across the country. To protect yourself and others from the Delta variant, the CDC is advising wearing a mask indoors in public, even if you’ve already been vaccinated and are in an area of substantial spread. The CDC recommends unvaccinated people wear a face mask, stay six feet away from others, get vaccinated, avoid crowds and poorly ventilated spaces, wash hands often, cover coughs and sneezes, clean and disinfect, and monitor health daily.
As we continue to follow all CDC recommendations, masks must be worn by all vaccinated and unvaccinated Luthercare team members, residents and guests when in public indoor spaces at a Luthercare community. Masks continue to be a requirement in our licensed care areas.
For those who would like to receive their COVID-19 vaccination at one of our on-site clinics, please reach out to Human Resources, 717-626-1171 x 1632.
Thank you for your ongoing support and understanding as we navigate through the pandemic and changing COVID-19 protocols.
Carl R. McAloose
President & CEO, Luthercare