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  Covid-19 continues problem in senior care homes   Search of potential covid variants  

Story By Fedor Zarkhin | The Oregonian/OregonLive - Story Source
Published on Wednesday March 24, 2021 - 7:59 AM
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More than a dozen Oregon senior care homes have reported coronavirus outbreaks even after staff and residents were offered vaccines, The Oregonian/OregonLive has found, pointing to the reality that vaccine access, while extraordinarily important, has not been a panacea for completely ending some outbreaks.

At one facility, a resident got sick and died with COVID-19 more than two weeks after getting both shots of the vaccine, a facility director said.

In another, most of the 13 staff who tested positive had refused to get vaccinated.

In a third facility, seven people tested positive after they should have reached full immunity – triggering reports to the state and federal government in search of potential variants of the disease.

In all, at least 15 nursing, assisted living and memory care homes in Oregon have seen coronavirus outbreaks weeks after residents and staff were offered shots, three of them exceeding 30 cases. New cases continue to emerge.

To be sure, the research and federal data indicate the coronavirus vaccine has almost certainly helped reduce coronavirus cases and deaths in senior care homes since doses became available in December. In Oregon, new nursing home cases have dropped to their lowest point since the pandemic began, federal data show, mirroring a nationwide trend.

So, if vaccines are working, why are some nursing homes still seeing outbreaks?

The answer is that, to a degree, post-vaccination clinic outbreaks are to be expected – either because of low vaccine uptake among residents or staff, partial immunity because not enough time has elapsed or virus variants less susceptible to vaccines. Moreover, the vaccines were never billed as being 100% effective, and facilities test workers and staff frequently, making it easier to identify cases among people without symptoms...