A nursing home in Connecticut has caused national concern after 89 residents and staff tested positive for coronavirus; 87 of the infected were fully vaccinated and 8 died. The outbreak began at the Geer Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in North Canaan, Connecticut in late September.
The eight individuals who died had “serious underlying health issues.” 78 residents and staff have recovered since the outbreak began. “We are encouraged to see only 3 active cases of covid-19 remaining within our nursing home. Of the total 67 residents affected over the course of this outbreak, 56 are fully recovered and off isolation. Sadly, we have lost 8 individuals with serious underlying health issues to Covid” said CEO Kevin O’Connell.
Facility leaders said 87 of the 89 infected residents and staff were fully vaccinated, so leaders are "obviously concerned we experienced some level of waning immunity." https://t.co/EBQEKfLD7B
— Mercedes Schlapp (@mercedesschlapp) November 17, 2021
Because 87 of the 89 were fully vaccinated individuals, leaders are “obviously concerned we experienced some level of waning immunity.” O’Connell said they had boosters scheduled for November 2, but the outbreak pushed it back.
“We’re following the guidance of the Department of Health…and they do not recommend providing booster to anybody with active infections for 14 days after the outbreak,” said O’Connell. Therefore no booster shots can be made available until there are no new positive cases for two full weeks.
The CDC currently recommends that all individuals, 18 and older, who live in long-term care facilities, receive a COVID-19 booster shot, given the fact that residents are likely to live closely together, and are often older adults with underlying medical conditions, which cause them to be at “increased risk of infection and severe illness from COVID-19.”
Officials from the home said over the weekend, “We continue to monitor the situation closely and will provide updates for residents, staff, families and community stakeholders as the situation changes.”
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Freedom in the UK: Johnson ends ‘all Covid measures’ including mask wearing
The United Kingdom is enjoying a huge announcement. Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced “the end of all Covid measures introduced to combat the Omicron variant – compulsory mask-wearing on public transport and in shops, guidance to work from home and vaccine certificates – from next week” reports The Guardian.
For those with coronavirus, the legal requirement for them to self-isolate will also be allowed to lapse when the regulations expire on March 24. Johnson also announced an immediate end for students to wear masks at secondary schools.
“From tomorrow we will no longer require face masks in classrooms and the Department for Education will shortly remove national guidance on their use in communal areas,” Johnson told the Commons.
“In the country at large we will continue to suggest the use of face coverings in enclosed or crowded spaces, particularly when you come into contact with people you don’t normally meet, but we will trust the judgment of the British people and no longer criminalise anyone who chooses not to wear one.”
The Prime Minister said Covid data was “showing that time and again this government got the toughest decisions right” and that plan B rules that were put in place in December could all be lifted from next Thursday, the day after a pre-existing review point.
The Guardian notes Britain had expected Johnson would soon be ending work-from-home guidance and the mandate to show a certificate proving vaccination or proof of a recent negative Covid test. However, the immediate lifting of mandatory mask rules will “come as a surprise to some.”
Johnson is receiving some push back from some teaching and health unions. The general secretary of the Royal College of Nursing, said ministers would “regret sending the wrong signal to the public for political expediency”.
Joint general secretary of the National Education Union Mary Bousted said, “While the trend amongst secondary aged children is down, it is however uncertain, due to the short time schools have been back since the Christmas holidays, that this trend will continue. Such uncertainty could lead to a pronounced risk of increased disruption with children and staff having to isolate.”
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