[PDF] Resident Newsletter: Coronavirus COVID-19 Updates & Guidance (3/22/21)
CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19) UPDATES & GUIDANCE
WHA RESIDENT NEWSLETTER
LATEST UPDATE - March 22, 2021
The WHA is pleased to announce that it has completed its first round of COVID-19 vaccine doses to eligible senior residents. In total, almost 70% of eligible residents have been vaccinated. In addition, from January to February, COVID-19 infection rates in WHA properties has dropped by almost 50%. These numbers reflect what our efforts as a community can do to reduce the spread of this virus.
Whether you are vaccinated or not all restrictions remain in place. Our COVID Taskforce is meeting regularly to discuss reopening plans and as decisions are made, more information will be shared.
There is still a mask mandate in place and masks continue to be required, whether you are vaccinated or not, on all WHA property.
Please continue to frequently wash your hands and sanitize high-touch areas, such as doorknobs, light switches, remote controls, and countertops.
Avoid crowded and poorly-ventilated spaces and maintain social distance from others.
Many of our school-aged residents are attending school virtually and many adult residents are working remotely. Be respectful of your neighbors keep noise to a minimum.
Benches will be reopened, but social distancing must be maintained; two people, max.
Elevator capacity is still limited to a maximum of 4 people at one time.
Community rooms will remain closed for the time being.
The City of Worcester is partnering with the WHA to run vaccine clinics in the Great Brook Valley/Curtis Apartments area, which will be open to all residents age 16 and over. More information will be shared as those details are confirmed; however, we expect those clinics to begin in early April. We hope you will participate for yourself, your loved ones, and the community.
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Want to know if you’re eligible for, or want to book a COVID vaccine?
Need a COVID test?
Call the City of Worcester COVID-19 hotline at 508-799-1019, open Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Available in English, Spanish, Vietnamese, and Albanian
Infected or exposed? Need a mask?
Call your Property Manager or Resident Services at 508-635-3306 for resources to help you quarantine safely.
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Text WHACOVID to 67076 for text alerts or visit our website: www.worcesterha.org/covid19.html
People are considered “fully vaccinated” two weeks after their second dose in a two-dose series (Pfizer or Moderna), or two weeks after a single-dose vaccine (Johnson & Johnson).
If it has been less than 2 weeks since your shot, or if you still need to get your second dose, you are NOT fully protected. Keep taking all precautions!
Fully vaccinated people can gather indoors with other fully vaccinated people without wearing a mask, or with unvaccinated people from one other household (for example, visiting with relatives who all live together) without masks, unless any of those people has an increased risk.
If you’ve been around someone who has COVID-19, you do not need to stay away from others or get tested unless you have symptoms.
You are no longer required to quarantine or test negative for COVID-19 after traveling (unless you are demonstrating COVID symptoms).
You are still at a high risk for contracting COVID-19 and spreading it to others, including those at high risk, such as elders and the immune-compromised.
Continue to wear your mask at all times, indoors and outdoors, when congregating with or visiting with others from outside your household.
If you are exposed to the virus, quarantine and get tested to ensure you do not pose a risk to others. A large segment of the spread of the virus has been attributed to asymptomatic individuals.
Continue to maintain social distance at all times and sanitize high touch items and areas frequently to protect yourself and your loved ones.
Talk to your doctor about getting vaccinated!Researchers estimate that 70-85% of the country needs to be vaccinated for COVID to stop. In the US, approximately 80 million people have been successfully vaccinated to date. We need your help building immunity for the community.
[MASSLIVE] ‘A perfect way to do it’: Worcester Housing Authority organizes COVID vaccine clinics at its complexes (3/9/21)
[YOUTUBE] WCVB: Medical students helping seniors get vaccinated (3/9/21)
‘A perfect way to do it’: Worcester Housing Authority organizes COVID vaccine clinics at its complexes
By Michael Bonner | email@example.com
A first-floor room inside the Belmont Towers apartment complex in Worcester is normally reserved for Bingo. On Monday, it was transformed into a COVID-19 vaccination clinic.
For organizers, the space represented a finish line. While those receiving the vaccine on Monday still need another dose, planning for Monday and the subsequent visit took months to coordinate.
“I can’t tell you how many town halls we’ve done,” Commissioner of Worcester Health and Human Services Dr. Mattie Castiel said. “... We have gone out [into the community] for people to understand.”
Castiel said the mobile clinic at 40 Belmont St. was expected to administer about 120 first doses of the Moderna vaccine on Monday.
The outreach began, she said, in September when she received the first dose of Pfizer’s vaccine as part of clinical trials.
“We did the Pfizer trial in September so people could see this vaccine is OK,” Castiel said. “We had no problem. I’m still alive. I’m here. We wanted people to know this is what’s going to happen, they would still be good, that everything would be fine.”
Shortly after 9 a.m. vaccinations began at Belmont Towers. Luz Gonzalez, a resident in Belmont Tower, caught the attention of Castiel, a good friend. The two laughed and conversed in Spanish until Castiel returned to a table in the back of the room where she filled syringes with the vaccine.
“I wasn’t [nervous]. I’m relaxed,” Gonzalez said. “I watch the news and every day I check the process.”
As Gonzalez chatted with Castiel after receiving her first dose of the vaccine, she sat in her motorized wheelchair in the monitoring area.
For Gonzalez and residents in similar situations, logging online and finding an appointment before traveling to that appointment for a vaccine was unlikely if not impossible.
“They’re not going to go to mass vaccination sites,” Castiel said. “That’s not culturally appropriate. They don’t have a trust in our health care system or government system. We’re able to say this is where you are, this is where we’ll bring it to you.”
Residents of low-income or public housing communities are eligible to receive the vaccine.
According to Don Prescott, the vice president of Training and Development, the Belmont Towers represents the second to last senior housing facility where the city has conducted a vaccine clinic. Pleasant Towers at 275 Pleasant St. is next, he said.
So far, Prescott said, about 60% of the residents at the locations have agreed to receive the vaccine. That number doesn’t include residents who received it at other vaccination sites or through their doctors.
Teams within the Worcester Housing Authority reach out to residents directly and create appointments for those interested in the vaccine. They’re reminded days in advance. On the day of the clinic, staff escorts them from their home to the clinic.
“It’s seamless,” Prescott said. “They love it.”
Through the public housing clinics so far, Castiel said, about half the residents who received vaccines were Latinx.
“It’s huge to be able to do this,” Castiel said. “And we’re going to continue to do this throughout the community.”
People of color have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic around the country and within Worcester.
According to data from the fall, while Worcester’s population is 21% Latinx residents, people in that community have represented 38% of positive COVID-19 cases. Worcester’s Black community has represented 22% of coronavirus cases but is only 13% of the population.
“This is truly our goal - to get the most who have been affected by COVID - to be able to get them vaccinated,” Castiel said.
Gregory Caldwell walked down from his home wearing sweatpants, a T-shirt and sandals. Within 10 minutes, he checked in, received the vaccine and sat in the monitoring area.
“It was definitely a whole lot easier and I wonder if everybody that’s in Mass Housing is going to have this opportunity; if they do, that’s great,” Caldwell said. “I wish it was the Johnson & Johnson one-time shot but I am more than pleased to be here and very thankful.”
Caldwell said he can travel to a super vaccination site if it was necessary, but many of his neighbors can’t - highlighting the importance of clinics like the one conduct at Belmont Towers.
“A lot of people are a little more elderly than I am,” Caldwell said. “This is a perfect way to do it for the residents that live here.”
[SPECTRUM NEWS 1] Worcester's Mobile Vaccination Unit Visits Elm Park Towers (3/3/21)
Worcester's Mobile Vaccination Unit Visits Elm Park Towers
BY SPECTRUM NEWS STAFF WORCESTER
PUBLISHED 5:45 PM ET MAR. 02, 2021
To get vaccines to communities heavily impacted by COVID-19, the city of Worcester is vaccinating senior residents who are homebound or living in Worcester Housing Authority sites.
The city’s Health and Human Services Mobile Vaccination team visited the Elm Park Tower on Pleasant Street Monday.
They were expecting to vaccinate 126 residents.
Last week, they vaccinated hundreds of residents at the Webster Square East and West Towers.
The WHA said they're working to make the vaccination process as easy as possible for their residents.
"We've done extensive outreach to these residents. Phone calls, robocalls, pre-registrations, so really kind of making it an easy flow going to get right through the process. We've done videos with doctors and we had UMass students, medical doctors make phone calls to the residents to help ease their mind and talk about the importance of getting it,” said Don Prescott, Vice President of Training and Development for the Worcester Housing Authority.
On Wednesday, the vaccine team will be in Holden at Checkerberry Village before returning to sites in Worcester next week.