MJHS Hospice COVID-19 Update
July 6, 2021
Dear MJHS Hospice Patient:
We’d like to take a moment to address the frightening new strain of COVID now circulating in the U.S. and the even greater need and rationale for being vaccinated.
While the number of confirmed cases, hospitalizations, and deaths in New York have all been decreasing, and the positivity rate (percentage of people who get tested for COVID-19 and are found to have the disease) is now less than 1%, there are still some very troubling warning signs. Specifically, the new Delta variant of the coronavirus could present significant challenges unless we continue to take the necessary actions – most importantly, getting vaccinated.
Some important points:
- The new Delta variant of COVID is at least 50% more transmissible than the prior strains
- This variant is rapidly spreading through much of the world. Just last week, areas of Australia and several other countries were locked down to try to stop the spread
- The Delta variant has already been detected in all 50 states. In some states, more than 50% of new COVID cases are caused by this rapidly spreading variant
- Vaccinated people appear to be protected from severe illness and death due to the Delta variant, underscoring the need to be vaccinated
- Despite the good news about severe illness, the number of vaccinated people who become infected with milder illness – and are therefore capable of spreading the illness to others – is expected to increase. This suggests the need to be vigilant, and consider masking and distancing when indoors, especially in crowded areas
- Unvaccinated people are at the greatest risk of severe illness, hospitalization and dying. In fact, almost all hospitalizations and deaths from COVID-19 are now happening among those who are unvaccinated.
- The complications associated with vaccination are minimal and are far outweighed by the risk of severe illness presented by the Delta variant
What should be your key takeaways? First, get vaccinated now if you haven’t already. More than 170 million people in the U.S. have been vaccinated and the number of complications has been tiny. Second, vaccination can protect you from serious illness and death due to the Delta variant. Vaccination works.
Chief Operating Office
MJHS Hospice and Home Care
December 14, 2020
Dear MJHS Hospice Patient:
As we all know, 2020 has been an exceedingly challenging year for everyone due to the COVID-19 pandemic. I’m proud to report that, throughout this health-crisis, MJHS Hospice has provided uninterrupted care for our patients, many of whom were diagnosed with the COVID virus, or who were living with family members who were sick. Despite personal risk, and driven by an unwavering commitment to our patients, our team continued to provide quality skilled nursing care, restorative therapy as well as social work and home health aide services to our patients in the comfort and safety of their own homes.
With the holiday season upon us, I would like to take this opportunity to remind you of a few simple steps you can take to decrease your risk of catching COVID-19 while at the same time celebrating this special time of year. According to the CDC, “The safest way to celebrate winter holidays is to celebrate at home with the people you live with. Staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others.” While we know how hard it is to be separated from loved ones, particularly during the holidays, being a family member does not protect you from catching or spreading the COVID virus. As a result, we strongly recommend that you not invite family and friends, who do not currently live with you, to celebrate the holidays this year.
Following are additional measures to decrease your risk of exposure to COVID-19, while keeping it festive during the holidays:
- Continue to wear a mask both indoors and outdoors
- Maintain social distancing
- Hold celebrations outdoors, if weather permits
- Schedule virtual celebrations and meals with family and friends
- Attend religious ceremonies virtually
If you have additional questions, I encourage you to visit the CDC website at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/holidays.html, for additional guidance on how to safely celebrate the holiday season.
Finally, like other members of the health care community, we welcome the good news that a COVID vaccine will soon be available. For your safety, and the safety of your loved ones, we encourage you to discuss getting vaccinated with your primary care physician, so you are ready when the vaccine becomes available.
I wish you and your loved ones a very happy holiday and a safe and healthy New Year.
Chief Operating Office
MJHS Hospice and Home Care
Dear MJHS Hospice Patient,
Your team at MJHS Hospice would like to provide you with some important information about COVID-19, the new Coronavirus, the steps we’re taking to ensure safe home visits and how you can help protect yourself.
As you’re aware, COVID-19 is a rapidly spreading respiratory illness that is now in the Greater New York area. Most people who get the virus will feel like they have a bad cold or flu. A smaller group may experience severe illness and require hospitalization. The frail, elderly and residents of nursing homes, who are often already at-risk, have a greater chance of getting COVID-19 and becoming seriously ill.
STEPS WE’RE TAKING TO ENSURE A SAFE HOME VISIT
- Before each home visit, a representative from MJHS will call your home to see if you, or anyone else in your home, has:
- Any of these symptoms: fever, cough, sore throat, nasal or chest congestion, shortness of breath, vomiting or diarrhea
- Been exposed to anyone who has a confirmed case or is suspected of having COVID-19
- Traveled internationally within the last 14 days
- All MJHS staff going to patient homes:
- Are being screened regularly to ensure that they have not been exposed to the virus
- Have been trained on and follow DOH infection control practices
- Adhere to rigid hand hygiene practices
- Carry protective equipment for use, when necessary
HOW TO PROTECT YOURSELF AND OTHERS
- Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands)
- Wash hands often with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds
- Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer, if soap and water are not available
- Do not touch your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands
- Notify your primary physician (PCP) immediately if you have any of the following symptoms: fever, cough, sore throat, nasal or chest congestion, shortness of breath, vomiting or diarrhea
- If you believe you’ve been in contact with someone who has a confirmed or suspected case of COVID-19, or have traveled internationally or to Washington State during the past 14 days, AND have any of the above symptoms, contact your PCP immediately
- If you think you might have COVID-19, or have been exposed to someone who has the virus:
- BEFORE GOING to your doctor or urgent care center CALL AHEAD so they can make sure proper safety measures are in place
- Stay home unless you must go to a medical appointment
- Get the flu shot—it’s not too late. While the flu shot will not protect you from COVID-19, it will help prevent the flu which in turn may reduce risk of serious complications should you get COVID-19
- Do not go to travel internationally
- Avoid large gatherings
MJHS is committed to keeping our patients informed about COVID-19 as well as helping them and our staff remain as safe as possible during the outbreak.
Chief Operating Officer