The next phase

COVID --- South Carolina to Move to Phase 1b of COVID-19 Vaccination Plan on March 8, 2021.

 

Public Health Officials Unveil Plans for All Vaccination Phases

 

COLUMBIA – Governor Henry McMaster and the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) announced today that South Carolina will advance to Phase 1b of the state’s COVID-19 vaccination plan beginning Monday, March 8.

“Throughout South Carolina’s vaccination efforts, our priority has been – and continues to be – saving lives,” said Gov. Henry McMaster. “In the month of February, South Carolina made tremendous progress on expanding access to vaccinations as the supply of vaccine increased. Our hospitals, pharmacies and healthcare providers became more nimble and efficient at getting shots in arms. Because of these successes, we’re now in a position to make the majority of South Carolinians eligible to receive the vaccine.”

“South Carolina remains focused on protecting the lives and health of South Carolinians from COVID-19,” said Dr. Edward Simmer, DHEC Director. “With the significant increase in vaccine supply and progress in vaccinating people in group 1a, front-line health care workers and those aged 65 and over, we are now ready to move to our next phase. Our state’s vaccine plan prioritizes those with greatest risk, while ensuring equal access to the vaccine for every South Carolinian aged 16 and over.” 

South Carolina’s phased approach to its COVID-19 vaccine rollout recognizes the risk of hospitalization and death from COVID-19 increases with age, and people with certain medical conditions and occupations are at higher risk of exposure to the virus. Because of this, South Carolina will continue to move phase by phase, based on risk level, with the goal of vaccinating every South Carolinian who wants to receive a vaccine by this summer.

Beginning March 8, appointments to get the COVID-19 vaccine can be made by people in the following groups:

Anyone aged 55 and up

People with increased risk for severe COVID-19 disease

People aged 16-64 with one or more of the following high-risk medical conditions:

Cancer (current, not a history of cancer), chronic kidney disease (any stage), chronic lung disease, diabetes (Type 1 and Type 2), Down syndrome, heart disease (congestive heart disease, coronary artery disease, cardiomyopathy, pulmonary hypertension), HIV/AIDS, solid organ transplant, obesity (BMI >30), pregnancy, sickle cell disease.

People who have a developmental or other severe high-risk disability that makes developing severe life-threatening illness or death from COVID-19 infection more likely

Frontline workers with increased occupational risk
Frontline workers with increased occupational risk are people who:

Must be in-person at their place of work, and

Perform a job that puts them at increased risk of exposure due to their frequent, close (less than 6 feet) and ongoing (more than 15 minutes) contact with others in the work environment

Examples of frontline workers include, but are not limited to, school staff and daycare workers, manufacturing workers, grocery store workers, law enforcement officers, etc.

Individuals at increased risk in settings where people are living and working in close contact

Residents and workers in group home settings for the mentally or physically disabled or those with behavioral or substance abuse conditions

Workers and residents in homeless shelters

Workers and residents in community training homes

State and local correctional facility staff with direct inmate contact

Correctional and immigration detention facility inmates

Migrant farmworkers living in shared housing or reliant on shared transportation 

All workers in healthcare and community health settings who have routine, direct patient contact and were not vaccinated in Phase 1a

“The arrival of the COVID-19 vaccines, including the recent approval of the new one-shot Janssen vaccine, has given us renewed hope for a return to normalcy and a light at the end of the tunnel,” Dr. Simmer said. “At the same time, we know our fight is not yet over. Until enough of us get vaccinated, we must all continue to wear masks, stay six feet away from others, and avoid crowds, even after we have received the vaccine. In addition, being tested can help reduce the spread of the disease and identify the presence of variants as early as possible.”

Public health officials estimate it will take 70 to 80 percent of the population getting vaccinated in order to reach herd immunity and stop COVID-19.

Based on current vaccine supply levels, DHEC anticipates Phase 1c will begin on approximately April 12, 2021. The phase will include:

People aged 45 and up 

Essential workers 

This group includes those who work in essential job categories as defined by the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC) who are not included in Phase 1b because they do not have frequent, close contact with others in the work environment (examples may include construction workers, delivery drivers, utility workers, etc. who do not have frequent, close and ongoing contact with others).

Phase 2 will begin on approximately May 3, 2021, and will include:

All South Carolinians aged 16 and up

South Carolinians are urged to get vaccinated according to the state’s plan, and not to jump ahead of others.

“We’re asking South Carolinians to consider others, and the fact that this plan is risk-based to prevent severe illness and death,” Dr. Simmer said. “You’re urged to not jump the line and put your loved ones, friends or neighbors at risk by doing so.”

How to make an appointment?

Online appointments can be made by using scdhec.gov/vaxlocator or you can call DHEC’s COVID-19 Vaccine Information Line at 1-866-365-8110 for help.

How will people demonstrate eligibility?

When seeking vaccine services, people included in Phase 1b or 1c may show eligibility by showing an ID that includes their date of birth, verifying that they meet the criteria for a frontline or essential worker, or by verifying that they have an eligible high-risk medical condition.

For a copy of the plan, click here. To learn more about COVID-19 vaccines, visit scdhec.gov/vaxfacts.

 

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Nursing Homes See 82 Percent Decline In COVID Cases Indicating The Vaccines Are Working

Lowest Amount Of New COVID Cases Since CMS Started Tracking In May 2020

 

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL), representing more than 14,000 nursing homes and long term care facilities across the country that provide care to approximately five million people each year, released a report today showing nursing homes in the U.S. have seen the lowest number of new COVID cases since the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) started tracking back in May 2020, suggesting that the vaccines are working.

Recent CMS data shows that nursing homes have seen an 82 percent decline in new COVID cases among residents since the peak during the week of December 20 of last year when there were more than 30,000 new resident cases. In the same period of time, community cases in the general population dropped by 46 percent, showcasing that vaccines are having an impact in protecting the elderly population in nursing homes.

 

“We still have a long road ahead, but these numbers are incredibly encouraging and a major morale booster for frontline caregivers who have been working tirelessly every day for a year to protect our residents,” said Mark Parkinson, president and CEO of AHCA/NCAL. “This new data showcases just how important it is for nursing homes residents and staff, as well as the general public, to get the vaccine because it is clearly working.”

The report also shows cases have dropped to the lowest level since CMS started tracking weekly COVID cases in nursing homes last May.

 

Along with the lowest number of new COVID cases, new data also shows COVID related deaths in nursing homes declined by 63 percent since December 20, 2020.

 

“Though this report brings hope, we cannot let our guard down. We must continue to encourage folks to get vaccinated, especially caregivers and staff,” added Parkinson. “Public health officials must also continue to ensure that long term care residents and staff remain the highest priority for accessing the vaccine, as the on-site clinics with CVS, Walgreens and other pharmacy partners are coming to a close.

“Most importantly, we call on the Administration to review its current guidance to nursing homes on restricting visitors and group activities,” concluded Parkinson. “With millions of residents and caregivers now fully protected thanks to the vaccines, residents must be able to safely reengage in meaningful activities and be reunited with their loved ones.”

In December, AHCA/NCAL launched #GetVaccinated, a nationwide campaign that aimed at encouraging all long term care residents, families and staff members to consent to the vaccine as well as provide credible information to help inform their decision.  Last week, AHCA/NCAL also announced the nationwide goal of getting 75 percent of all long term staff vaccinated by June 30, 2020.

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ABOUT AHCA/NCAL

The American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL) represents more than 14,000 non-profit and proprietary skilled nursing centers, assisted living communities, sub-acute centers and homes for individuals with intellectual and development disabilities. By delivering solutions for quality care, AHCA/NCAL aims to improve the lives of the millions of frail, elderly and individuals with disabilities who receive long term or post-acute care in our member facilities each day. For more information, please visit www.ahcancal.org or www.ncal.org.
 

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