May 11, 2021
I last wrote a COVID update last November at the height of the fall surge. It is now the end of April, and we can see the end of it if we look closely down the road. The Governor says if we get our vaccine count in Minnesota up to 70% we may have a normal summer.
Since things are winding down I thought another update might be in order. Since the pandemic began in March of 2020, 30 residents have tested positive while 68 have tested negative while never testing positive. Of those 30, 27 have fully recovered. We mourn the other three!
It is important to note that of the 30, 22 of them (73%) tested positive in April/May of last year; only seven have tested positive since then. We have not had a positive case since January 6. I think this is a remarkable achievement, especially given the intense wave Minnesota experienced last fall. It is a testament to the tenacity and courage of our DSPs and nurses, as well as to the excellent decision-making and leadership of our site and middle managers.
Like much of the rest of Minnesota residents, our staff have continued to test positive though at much lower rates than at the beginning of the pandemic. At present, 69 staff have tested positive and recovered, one employee awaiting test results, and one staff person is quarantining because of a family situation. The lack of spread from our staff to our individuals demonstrates how responsible and quick-thinking our staff are: they wear their PPE faithfully and report any exposures or symptoms immediately, so we have not experienced the spread that some other long-term-care providers have.
Down the Road
We worked closely with our pharmacy provider, Geritom, to make the Moderna vaccine available to both our individuals and our staff. Over 50% of our staff took us up on the vaccine and over 90% of our individuals did. Some of the staff had received their shots through another employer. Everyone who wanted it got their first shot in the first few days of March and the second shot the last week in March. We continue to educate those staff who are skeptical about the vaccine while respecting their control over their own health care. There were some side-effect issues with the second shot but we planned well and got through the sick calls.
Weathering the Storm
We continue to take a financial hit as a result of the pandemic. Last year’s pandemic costs reached $1.36 million. Pandemic related overtime and hazard pay totaled approximately $333,000. We spent an addition $135,500 on temporary pool services. PPE cost us about $200,000. By far the largest loss was from the loss of revenue resulting from fewer people living in our homes. Many families interested in moving to new services lost that interest during the pandemic and of course the restrictions on travel and mobility discouraged tours and assessment visits. Our loss of revenue last year (adjusted for our typical 5-year average for lost bed revenue), was $759,000.
As you might expect, these costs are continuing into 2021, but at a lower rate. We continue to purchase PPE. The largest loss so far in 2021 remains lost revenue–$332,500.
We have been helped immensely by the generosity of the federal government and our donors! We could not have weathered the storm if it were not for them.
We will keep wearing our PPE and following the directives of the Governor, MN Department of Health, and the CDC until this thing is gone.