[PDF] Resident Newsletter: Coronavirus COVID-19 Updates & Guidance (8/11/21)
CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19) UPDATES & GUIDANCE
WHA RESIDENT NEWSLETTER
LATEST UPDATE - AUGUST 11, 2021
The Delta variant – what you need to know
After a sharp drop in COVID infections in the first half of the year, many states have seen numbers inching up recently as the Delta variant – a highly infectious, contagious, and more severe strain – started to quickly spread, particularly among a younger demographic as states eased restrictions.
This strain is also causing “breakthrough” cases in fully-vaccinated persons. A recent outbreak in Provincetown, MA made headlines after hundreds were infected, including many fully-vaccinated persons
(74%). Very few of those infected in this outbreak were hospitalized, and none died, proving that the vaccines work as expected to prevent severe illness and death from COVID-19.
In total, out of approximately 164 million people vaccinated nationwide, there have been 125,682 breakthrough cases since January. This sounds like a lot, but it breaks down to 0.08%. Thinking about it in another way, 99.92% of vaccinated people have not
had a breakthrough infection – pretty solid odds! On the contrary, almost 99% of hospitalized patients infected with COVID-19 are UNVACCINATED.
How did we end up with Delta?
It is important to understand the science behind mutations and vaccination. Viruses aren’t living things - they need a host (you) to survive. Once a virus enters your body, it reproduces and spreads. The more a virus circulates in a population of people, the more it can change and mutate. Every time the virus jumps to a new person, its chance of mutation increases. However, if the virus keeps running into vaccinated people, it hits a wall and can’t keep spreading. Decreasing the number of infections through vaccination is the best way to stop community spread and prevent new variants from developing.
How bad is it in our community?
On August 2, 2021, there were 883 new, confirmed cases of COVID-19 reported in Massachusetts. There are currently 226 patients hospitalized with COVID-19, 51 in ICU and 16 who are intubated. What is most concerning about this variant is the population most impacted – the younger, 20-40 age group.
As of July 6, 78% of the eligible population in MA have had at least one dose of the vaccine. 70% are fully vaccinated. While Massachusetts is faring better than other states, updated data from the CDC now shows nine Massachusetts counties, including Worcester, at either substantial or high risk. Last week, the CDC said that even fully vaccinated individuals in such areas should wear masks when in public indoor settings.
Confirmed cases by age during the last two weeks *Data updated weekly
Age group (years)
WHAT CAN YOU DO
• The WHA is not currently making any changes to existing COVID-related protocols, but will be watching the numbers closely and responding quickly to changes in public health guidance.
• Unvaccinated persons must continue to mask on WHA property when outside of their unit. Vaccinated individuals are encouraged to mask in public spaces, especially when in close contact with others from outside of your household. Sanitize, keep your hands away from your face, and use caution around those at high-risk.
• GET VACCINATED! Now is the time. In most hospitals, over 99% of COVID patients in ICU are unvaccinated. Many beg for the vaccine as they lay dying in hospital beds without their loved ones. For them, it’s too late. For you, it’s not. The Delta variant is as contagious as chicken pox, spreading quickly and hitting even young and healthy people hard, including children. Talk to your doctor and get reliable, professional, educated advice.
• Worried about side effects? The vaccine is not live and leaves the body within 72 hours. The antibodies created by your own immune system is what sticks around. Serious side effects from the vaccine are extremely rare and the vast majority occur within 6-8 weeks of receiving the shot. In contrast, the long term effects of COVID can be devastating, including permanent lung damage, permanent loss of taste or smell, and cognitive issues, like brain fog and memory loss. Millions of people around the globe have been vaccinated to date without issue. What are you still waiting for?
FROM THE FRONTLINES
"As Mindy Greene spent another day in the COVID intensive care unit, listening to the whirring machines that now breathed for her 42-year-old husband, Russ, she opened her phone and tapped out a message."
“We did not get the vaccine,” she wrote on Facebook. “I read all kinds of things about the vaccine and it scared me.
So I made the decision and prayed about it and got the impression that we would be ok.”
They were not.
Her husband, the father to their four children, was now hovering between life and death, tentacles of tubes spilling from his body. The patient in the room next to her husband’s had died hours earlier. That day, July 13, Greene decided to add her voice to an unlikely group of people speaking out in the polarized national debate over vaccination: the remorseful.
“If I had the information I have today we would have gotten vaccinated,” Greene wrote. Come what may, she hit send. “I have such incredible guilt,” Greene said one morning as she sat in the fourth-floor lobby outside the ICU at Utah Valley Hospital in Provo, which looks out to the mountains where her family once went hiking and four-wheeling. “I blame myself still. Every day.””
Need a COVID vaccine? Click here: https://www.mass.gov/info-details/covid-19-vaccination-locations
Need a COVID test? Click here: https://www.mass.gov/info-details/find-a-covid-19-test
Other resources: Text WHACOVID to 67076 for alerts or visit: http://www.worcesterha.org/covid19.html
[PDF] Resident Newsletter: Coronavirus COVID-19 Updates & Guidance (5/28/21)
CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19) UPDATES & GUIDANCE
WHA RESIDENT NEWSLETTER
LATEST UPDATE - May 28, 2021
After a year and a half of living through a pandemic, we are finally beginning to see a light at the end of this long tunnel. On May 13th, the CDC announced new guidance outlining that fully-vaccinated individuals no longer had to wear masks indoors,
except in hospitals, on public transportation, and in other specified places. On May 17th, Governor Baker announced that effective May 29th,
• All industry restrictions in Massachusetts will be lifted;
• Capacity limits will increase to 100%;
• Gathering limits will be rescinded; and
• Fully-vaccinated individuals will no longer need to wear a mask or social distance indoors or outdoors except in certain situations.
Non-vaccinated individuals are advised to continue wearing face masks and to continue distancing in most settings.,
Masks will still be mandatory for everyone,
(vaccinated or not) on public and private transportation, including rideshares, livery (such as Uber or Lyft), taxis, ferries, MBTA buses and trains, Commuter Rail trains, at transportation stations, in healthcare facilities, and in other settings hosting vulnerable populations, such as congregate care settings, as well as indoors for staff and students of K-12 schools and early education providers.
However, this latest guidance relies on the honor system - a hope and trust that unvaccinated individuals will continue masking and taking precautions, even though they are not required to show proof of vaccination. While as humans, we all hope that others will be responsible, accountable, honest, and respectful, we know it unfortunately doesn’t always work out that way.
Massachusetts leads the nation in vaccinating residents, with 75% of adults receiving at least one dose. 3.2 million Massachusetts residents are now fully-vaccinated. New cases have dropped by 89% since January 8th and hospitalizations are down 88% since January 1st. The vaccines are working!
Governor Baker also noted that businesses can set their own requirements. Please carefully read the next section to understand what is changing at the Worcester Housing Authority.
• WHA offices will remain closed to the public, except by appointment (Property Management and Family & Resident Services). If you need to speak to someone, call the appropriate office to set up an appointment. WHA staff are able to meet by telephone or virtual conference for everyone’s safety.
• Community rooms will remain closed, except for scheduled and pre-organized events in order to maintain safe social distancing and appropriate capacity.
• For everyone’s safety, Maintenance and Property Management staff will continue to wear masks when entering resident units, whether they are vaccinated or not.
• Fully vaccinated people can remove their masks both inside and outside
of WHA buildings.
• If you’ve been exposed to someone who has COVID-19, or have traveled outside of the state, you are no longer required to quarantine or get tested
for COVID-19 unless you have symptoms.
• The virus is not gone. Be safe, be smart.
Wash your hands. Don’t touch your face. Clean and disinfect your spaces. Maintain social distance whenever possible.
• Unvaccinated persons must continue to wear masks and social distance at all times in public areas of WHA buildings,
such as lobbies, elevators, hallways, community rooms, and laundry rooms.
• Unvaccinated persons can remove their masks when outside
of WHA buildings, except when social distancing is not possible.
• You are at high risk for contracting COVID-19 and spreading it to others. Be personally accountable.
The virus is not gone. Wash your hands. Don’t touch your face. Clean and disinfect your spaces.face. Clean and disinfect your spaces.
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.
Text WHACOVID to 67076 for text alerts or visit our website: www.worcesterha.org/covid19.html