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Information for caregivers

COVID-19

Important information

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 employeebenefits@accracare.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.


Stay Informed

Latest updates

CDC Recommends Everyone Ages 18 and Older Should Get a COVID-19 Booster Shot

Although COVID-19 vaccination remains effective in preventing severe disease, recent data suggest vaccination becomes less effective over time, especially in people aged 65 and older, and at preventing infection or milder illness with symptoms. The recent emergence of the Omicron variant further emphasizes the importance of vaccination, boosters and prevention efforts to protect against COVID-19. Thus, the CDC is recommending that all eligible adults ages 18 and older receive a COVID-19 booster shot.

People who received the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccine should wait to receive their booster until at least six months after completing their primary COVID-19 vaccination series. People who received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine should wait to receive their booster until at least two months after completing their primary COVID-19 vaccination. You may choose which COVID-19 vaccine you receive as a booster shot. Some people may prefer the vaccine type that they originally received, while others may prefer to get a different booster. The CDC recommendations now allow for this type of mix and match dosing for booster shots.

CDC Recommends Everyone Ages 5 and Older Receive a COVID-19 Vaccinee

The CDC now recommends that children 5 to 11 years old be vaccinated against COVID-19 with the Pfizer-BioNTech pediatric vaccine. Getting a COVID-19 vaccine can help protect children ages 5 years and older from getting COVID-19, while protecting those around them.

  • Vaccinating children can help protect family members, including siblings who are not eligible for vaccination and family members who may be at increased risk of getting very sick if they are infected.
  • Vaccination can also help keep children from getting seriously sick even if they do get COVID-19.
  • Vaccinating children ages 5 years and older can help keep them in school and help them safely participate in sports, playdates, and other group activities.

Before recommending COVID-19 vaccination for children, scientists conducted clinical trials with thousands of children and no serious safety concerns were identified. Children ages 5 through 11 receive an age-appropriate dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, which has the same active ingredients as the vaccine given to adults and adolescents. Children will need a second shot of the vaccine three weeks after their first shot.

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.

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 masks@accracare.org 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.

Face shields

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

Step-by-step instructions

  1. Wash your hands before putting on your mask
  2. Put it over your nose and mouth and secure it under your chin
  3. Try to fit it snugly against the sides of your face
  4. Make sure you can breathe easily
  5. CDC does not recommend use of masks or cloth masks for source control if they have an exhalation valve or vent

DIY Instructions PDF

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
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea