Protecting our community from COVID-19 one year later
Last March, the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a global pandemic. For many of us, life as we knew it was largely put on hold. What we thought might resolve in six weeks turned into months and forced us to adapt to a new way of living and operating.
In the transitional care sector, we provide care for patients after a hospital stay so that they can safely recover and return home. Transitional care is important to our health care system because patients face a higher likelihood of returning to the hospital after they're discharged if they don't take proper precautions. This type of care was critical during the pandemic, as it helped free up hospital beds for the sickest COVID-19 patients.
At Bridgemoor Transitional Care, our unique model of highly skilled care has largely shielded us from the most severe outcomes of the COVID-19 virus. Because we are set up much like a hospital and provide care under a physician-led team, we continue to limit visitors and wear personal protective equipment, including N95 masks, gloves and goggles or face shields. But we can't stop there. You can help us prevent the spread of the virus in our community by using every tool available. This will help protect our essential staff and vulnerable patients, and it will also keep facility capacity available for those who need transitional care services.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in addition to getting a COVID-19 vaccine, you should continue to wear a mask to protect yourself and others and help stop the spread of the virus. Additionally, continue to stay at least six feet apart from others who don't live with you and avoid crowds even after you're vaccinated. These evidence-based practices are the best way to protect you and others from transmission, resulting in a resurgence in positive cases.
If it has been at least two weeks since your second dose of a vaccine, or two weeks after a single-dose vaccine, you are considered fully vaccinated. The CDC advises those who are fully vaccinated to continue to take precautions. However, once you're fully vaccinated, you can now gather indoors with other fully vaccinated people without wearing a mask, according to the CDC. This doesn't apply to health care facilities that are still implementing universal masking, though. These masking policies are in place to protect everyone inside the building, since not every patient or visitor may be vaccinated.
From the health care heroes and front-line workers to parents, teachers and kids, it truly does "take a village" to end a pandemic. Now is not the time to let our guard down. I encourage everyone to continue to follow CDC guidelines and listen to your local health authority.
Mark Fritz is president of Bridgemoor Transitional Care, which provides personalized, cost-effective transitional care in Round Rock following a hospital visit, enabling patients to regain their independence as quickly as possible.
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