Monday, April 12, 2021
Official US COVID-19 Guidance Relaxed as Vaccine Access and AvailabilityEligibility Expanding to All US Adults by April 19
Following the March release of loosened COVID-19 guidance from the CDC and others, President Biden announced on April 6 that the US would open up vaccine priority by next Monday, April 19 to include all adults (18+) who wish to receive it, beating the original target date which had long been set for May 1.
Forbes has reported that 75% of Americans 65 and older have now received at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose. Data from the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) reflect that of the 187 million vaccine doses administered in the US (at time of writing), 7.7 million have gone to residents of long-term care communities, where 2.9 million residents were fully vaccinated and 4.8 million had received one dose out of the required two.
Across the Discovery Senior Living family of communities, 96% of residents have accepted the first and second doses of available vaccines. Organization-wide, we’ve administered over 14,300 vaccine doses to residents and team members, and will continue until every resident and team member who wishes to receive the vaccine has fully done so. Vaccine clinics are currently scheduled, in progress or already completed at more than 90% of all Discovery communities nationwide.
Discovery Senior Living has also updated its COVID-19 protocols based on the relaxation of guidance from both the CDC and Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services. The new protocols closely adhere to the latest official guidance regarding quarantine and isolation practices, recommended actions for vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals in the Independent Living, Assisted Living and Memory Care settings, and resident and team member protocols for anyone who comes into contact with someone who is/was COVID-positive at the time. Discovery Senior Living’s intention is to follow the latest, Federal guidance as well as comply with state and local guidelines to create a safe environment for residents and team members with an aim to enhance their quality of life in a prudent manner.
The newest guidelines do allow for in-person gathering, and as a result, we’ve been restoring dining, activities and events, chauffeured transportation and other services to fuller capacities, all while observing official recommendations regarding masks, social distancing and other preventive measures. Visitors, community tours and move-ins are also being permitted. Residents and all visitors are asked to wear masks and use discretion, and to become familiar with the federal, state and local procedures that apply to each, individual community. To maximize safety, all Discovery team members are still required to wear face masks while on duty.
Notable going forwards is that all 50 states are expected to ease their vaccine eligibility rules by Monday, April 19, thus enabling every adult (18+) who wants a vaccine to receive one. As a result, there’s now a heightened push for unvaccinated seniors to get their shots soon, because seniors will naturally be receiving a smaller share of overall vaccine doses from April 19 on.
Nonetheless, as manufacturers have ramped up production and output, supply limitations have largely been disappearing of late. Add to that more efficient processes for vaccine administration and it’s no wonder a record of nearly 4.1 million vaccine doses were administered this past Saturday (April 3) alone. The national average for daily vaccines has been 3.1 million over the past week, more than tripling the 1 million doses/day average being registered three months prior. (Source: CDC COVID Vaccine Tracker)
We continue to urge everyone to get vaccinated as soon as eligibility allows, and will post further updates as new information becomes available in the days and weeks ahead.