Residents, staff at Pioneer Ridge Health & Rehab receive COVID-19 vaccinations; hospital receives 300 more doses

photo by: Contributed Photo

Pioneer Ridge Health and Rehab resident Janet Rusk receives a COVID-19 vaccine on Dec. 29, 2020.

Staff members and residents at Pioneer Ridge Health & Rehab were given the option to receive a COVID-19 vaccine on Tuesday, according to the skilled nursing facility.

Walgreens administered the Pfizer vaccine at Pioneer Ridge Health & Rehab, 4851 Harvard Road, to staff and residents of the facility’s skilled nursing and rapid recovery units, a news release from the organization said.

“We feel so fortunate to be offering the vaccine to our residents and staff,” Ann Bell, Pioneer Ridge Health & Rehab administrator, said in the release. “We cannot thank Walgreens and the CDC enough for prioritizing our community and senior living communities across the country.”

Receiving the vaccine was not a requirement for staff and residents, according to Ali Ellis, marketing director for Midwest Health, the company that manages Pioneer Ridge Health & Rehab.

“We are strongly encouraging residents and staff members to consider the benefits of the vaccine, the findings from the FDA, and to consult the advice of their primary care physician if they have concerns,” Bell said in the release.

There are 39 residents and around 60 staff members at Pioneer Ridge Health & Rehab, Ellis said Tuesday afternoon. She said 26 residents and 47 staff members had chosen to receive the vaccine.

In addition to its health and rehab facility, Pioneer Ridge also offers assisted living and independent living. Pioneer Ridge assisted living residents and staff are scheduled to receive vaccines on Jan. 4 through CVS, Ellis said. Because independent living residents are “vibrant, healthy, active seniors,” they will not be included in Phase 1A, Ellis said. But Pioneer Ridge has reached out to the health department to see whether members of this community can be vaccinated because of their group living setting.

photo by: Contributed Photo

Pioneer Ridge Health and Rehab resident Marie White receives a COVID-19 vaccine on Dec. 29, 2020.

For other long-term care facilities in Douglas County, it is unclear when vaccines will arrive. A spokesperson for Lawrence Presbyterian Manor said the facility is still waiting for its clinic dates. A nurse at Neuvant House of Lawrence said that facility was also waiting, and that it would be receiving its vaccines through Hy-Vee. Calls to Brandon Woods and The Windsor of Lawrence were not returned.

Sarah Randolph, executive director of Bridge Haven Memory Care, has been given the dates for when CVS will come to administer the vaccines to staff and residents. Randolph said the facility expects to receive the first dose on Jan. 11 and the second dose on Feb. 1. Bridge Haven Memory Care has 36 residents and about 60 staff members, Randolph said.

Media relations personnel from CVS and Walgreens were unable to provide the Journal-World with a list of which facilities in Douglas County would be receiving vaccines from one of the two pharmacies.

As the Journal-World has reported, vaccinations for many long-term care facilities’ staff and residents will be handled by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Pharmacy Partnership for Long-term Care Program. The program is a partnership between the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and retail pharmacies CVS and Walgreens, and it lets long-term care facilities arrange for those pharmacies to come to the facilities and vaccinate residents at no cost. More information can be found on the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services’ website.

In other vaccine news, LMH Health announced Tuesday afternoon that it received 300 doses of the Moderna vaccine late Monday night. Amy Northrop, spokesperson for the hospital, said LMH is “actively placing calls to its essential health care workers in Phase 1A to schedule appointments for vaccination over the next two days.”

On Monday, the hospital said in its newsletter that 1,192 of its employees were still awaiting vaccinations. Of those employees, more than 50 were in direct contact with COVID-19 patients in the hospital and more than 100 worked in clinics where exposure was likely, the update read.

COVID-19 update in Douglas County

Douglas County reported 6,371 cases of COVID-19 as of Tuesday, an increase of 79 cases since Monday.

In Douglas County, 5,658 out of the 6,371 cases are inactive or beyond the infectious period, according to Lawrence-Douglas County Public Health, meaning 713 cases are active.

The county has averaged about 43 new cases per day over the last 14 days, according to a 14-day moving average graph updated weekdays by the health department. The current average of 42.79 new cases per day is down from a recent high of 77 cases per day in mid-November and up from a recent low of 17 cases per day in mid-October.

Douglas County has a 14-day COVID-19 incidence rate of 483 per 100,000 people.

Twenty-eight patients at Lawrence’s hospital had COVID-19 on Tuesday, two more than Monday. To date, 32 Douglas County residents have died of COVID-19.

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