Where to turn if you have questions on COVID-19
If you have any questions about the care of your clients, please Contact your Accra case manager. If you have specific questions about COVID-19, call the MDH general hotline at 651-201-3920. If you or your client may have symptoms of COVID-19, you should contact your medical provider by phone, inform them of your concerns and then follow their specific instructions. And a reminder that you must report to the Human Resources department if you have a positive COVID-19 test result at firstname.lastname@example.org.
As the coronavirus situation in Minnesota rapidly evolves, we are making changes to our operational practices to do our part to help prevent person-to-person transmission of the virus, and keep our employees, caregivers and clients safe. Please see the updates below.
FDA approves Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine
On August 23, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for individuals 16 years of age and older. FDA-approved vaccines undergo the agency’s standard process for reviewing the quality, safety and effectiveness of medical products. The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine also continues to be available under emergency use authorization (EUA) for individuals 12 through 15 years of age, and for the administration of a third dose in certain immunocompromised individuals
CDC recommends additional COVID-19 vaccine dose for moderately to severely immunocompromised people
The CDC is recommending that moderately to severely immunocompromised people receive an additional dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. This includes people who have:
- Been receiving active cancer treatment for tumors or cancers of the blood
- Received an organ transplant and are taking medicine to suppress the immune system
- Received a stem cell transplant within the last 2 years or are taking medicine to suppress the immune system
- Moderate or severe primary immunodeficiency (such as DiGeorge syndrome, Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome)
- Advanced or untreated HIV infection
- Active treatment with high-dose corticosteroids or other drugs that may suppress your immune response
People should talk to their healthcare provider about their medical condition, and whether getting an additional dose is appropriate for them. The additional dose of an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine should be administered at least four weeks after the second dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccine, and the same vaccine should be used. There is not enough data at this time to determine whether immunocompromised people who received the Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen COVID-19 vaccine also have an improved antibody response following an additional dose of the same vaccine.
Minnesota loosens COVID-19 restrictions
While Minnesota is moving to relax some of its COVID-19 restrictions, Accra still highly recommends continued safety protocols, including wearing masks, social distancing and frequent hand washing.
Guidelines for wearing well-fitting face masks or two masks
The CDC announced new guidelines Feb. 10 that include wearing well-fitting face masks or two masks at a time to help curb the COVID-19 pandemic. When choosing a mask, look at how well it fits, how well it filters the air, and how many layers it has. The CDC found evidence that wearing a cloth mask over a disposable surgical mask could dramatically reduce both the spread of the virus to others and exposure to the virus for oneself. The CDC also advises selecting masks with a nose wire that can be adjusted for a snug fit.
Face masks required on public transportation
To prevent the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19, the CDC issued an order on January 29 requiring face masks to be worn by all travelers while on public transportation. People must wear masks that completely cover both the mouth and nose while awaiting, boarding, disembarking or traveling on airplanes, trains, subways, buses, taxis, ride-shares, ships and ferries. People must also wear masks while at transportation hubs (such as airports or train stations) in the U.S. and U.S. territories.
Information for caregivers with more than one client
A caregiver serving more than one client can take extra steps to keep yourself and clients safe. One simple thing you can do is make sure you change your clothes when going from one home to the other; this includes shoes. Always wash your clothes after working with your clients, and of course, be sure to your wash hands. If you are wearing a cloth mask or face covering, either wash it in between working for clients or use a different one that has been washed. Your client(s) should be asking you to screen for symptoms every day. This includes checking your temperature and checking if you have any potential symptoms of COVID. Even if they are not asking you, you can do this independently using this app: https://www.apple.com/covid19 . If you do experience symptoms, call your client and inform them right away. Also get tested as soon as you are able; if you do test positive, please inform the client and Accra immediately.
Masks and face shields available
Accra is now distributing masks on a request basis. When requested by a client, we will send out 10 surgical masks and one cloth mask for each caregiver/PCA a client has actively working. We also have face shields available for caregivers/PCAs and can send one out upon request. A face shield should be dedicated to only one caregiver. Clients can email us at email@example.com or call us at (952) 935-3515 with their request.
Proper use of surgical masks
Here are guidelines for how to reuse and dispose of surgical masks properly according to the CDC:
Surgical masks can be worn for a full shift, then placed in a paper bag labeled with your name and reused by you. Please rotate these bagged masks every 3-5 shifts. This allows the virus, if present, to die on the surface of the mask before reuse. Use these masks until the mask is ripped or too contaminated for reuse; the mask should then be thrown away.
Accra PCA/Homemaker/245D clients have received a face shield for each active staff person they have working. A face shield should be dedicated to only one caregiver. They should be immediately cleaned when they are visibly soiled, whenever they are removed such as when leaving the client home, and at least daily (after every shift) prior to putting them back on.
Looking for more hours?
Any staff looking for more hours are encouraged to sign up on the Accra Job Board at www.accrajobboard.org. It’s quick and easy. Accra employees can post that they are looking for another client/family to support. If you have any questions, call us toll free at 866-935-3515.
Wear your mask correctly
- Wash your hands before putting on your mask
- Put it over your nose and mouth and secure it under your chin
- Try to fit it snugly against the sides of your face
- Make sure you can breathe easily
- CDC does not recommend use of masks or cloth masks for source control if they have an exhalation valve or vent
Typical Symptoms of COVID-19
People with COVID-19 have had a wide range of symptoms reported – ranging from mild symptoms to severe illness.
These symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus:
- Fever or chills
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Muscle or body aches
- New loss of taste or smell
- Sore throat
- Congestion or runny nose
- Nausea or vomiting