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By DAVID CAMPHOUSE
While the Scott County Nursing Center (SCNC) has fared remarkably well compared to many long-term care facilities in neighboring counties, SCNC saw a jump in active cases among residents in the month of August.
According to Scott County Health Department RN Meghan VanDeVelde, the situation at SCNC is still categorized as a COVID-19 “outbreak” by the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH).
As of Monday, SCHD reported that three residents had active cases of COVID-19. IDPH requires two weeks without new COVID-19 cases before declaring a long-term care facility’s outbreak over. VanDeVelde indicated Monday, that in just over a week, if no new cases were detected, the outbreak would be declared over by IDPH.
“The nursing home has to have 14 days consecutively with no new positive cases to be able to end the outbreak status,” VanDeVelde said “So far, we have only eight more days to go.”
According to IDPH, 96.67 percent of SCNC residents have been vaccinated against COVID-19. Meanwhile, 61.11 percent of SCNC staff have been vaccinated.
While vaccination has largely prevented hospitalization and death, many fully vaccinated residents have managed to contract so-called breakthrough COVID-19 infections.
“31 percent of our active cases are fully vaccinated,” VanDeVelde said.
VanDeVelde also indicated SCHD is engaged with the Scott County schools, to determine a path forward in light of the new vaccination and testing mandates placed on schools and healthcare facilities.
“Our biggest struggle right now is probably the newest mandate for schools and healthcare with the vaccine versus testing options,” VanDeVelde said.
A recent set of COVID-19 mandates from Governor Pritzker’s office requires that most pre-k through 12th grade educators and healthcare workers get fully vaccinated. If exempt, these workers must undergo weekly COVID-19 screenings.
“Basically, what is required under the new mandate by the Governor›s executive order, is you either provide proof of full vaccination to the school to be exempt from testing or submit to weekly COVID-19 testing if you are an unvaccinated person,” VanDeVelde said.
According to VanDeVelde, the schools and their staffs are currently unpacking what the mandates mean for them.
“Schools are preparing for staff meetings this week to discuss in detail what the expectations are and the locations of testing options for staff who need it,” VanDeVelde said.
In other news, VanDeVelde reported that SCHD is preparing to announce its schedule of seasonal flu vaccination clinics.
“We’re preparing for our upcoming flu clinics,” VanDeVelde said. “We will be announcing flu vaccine clinic dates in the near future.”