COVID-19 positive cases continue to rise at an alarming rate in Lac qui Parle, surrounding counties, and nationwide. The CMS Positivity rate is at 10.8%, which is higher than the State of MN. Lac qui Parle County had not seen double-digit positivity rates since the November 2020 outbreak, which was before a vaccine was available.
As part of JMHS’ commitment to employee safety, JMHS’ Executive Leadership, Medical Staff, and Board of Directors recently implemented mandatory Covid-19 and Flu vaccination policies. The policies affect all JMHS Healthcare Workers (employees, volunteers, students, residents, contracted workers, independent practitioners, locums, and vendors).
JMHS joins a long list of MN healthcare facilities that have implemented mandatory vaccination policies. Rules for the federal mandate requiring all healthcare workers to be vaccinated for COVID-19 are expected to be released mid to late October.
“The virus is still greatly impacting our communities, and the different variants are reaching populations that have not been impacted before,” said CEO Stacey Lee. “As a healthcare organization, we have made a commitment to do everything in our power to save lives, educate our community and protect our patients, residents, tenants, and staff.”
The mandate states that employees must complete their COVID-19 Vaccine doses by December 15 and the Flu Vaccine by December 31. Exemption requests due to medical or religious concerns will be reviewed by JMHS. In addition, JMHS will pay for all vaccinations and the time spent receiving the vaccinations.
At JMHS, 100% of the medical providers have received the COVID-19 vaccine since it first became available in December 2020. They have also administered more than 2,530 vaccine doses to members of our communities. Last year over 86% of JMHS employees received the flu vaccine.
In Minnesota and across the nation, hospitals are filling back up with COVID-19 patients. MDH’s monthly calls discussing available hospital beds have moved to daily calls, which was done during the 2020 COVID-19 peak. Hospital, ICU, Med surge, and even Pediatric beds are all short in supply, and our neighboring States are in the same predicament, making it difficult to admit or transfer patients.
“Currently, unvaccinated patients account for 99% of COVID hospitalizations,” said Dr. Erik Shelstad, JMHS Clinic Medical Director. “Unfortunately, with the different mutations, young, healthy but unvaccinated patients are getting hit hard by the COVID-19 virus, which is something we rarely saw in 2020.”
JMHS believes the new vaccine mandates will help protect vulnerable patients, residents, tenants, and staff and contribute to the national effort to contain the COVID-19 and Flu viruses. The health and safety of each community depends on every eligible resident getting vaccinated and following CDC guidance. Get tested if you have symptoms or a close contact exposure, stay home if you are ill, wear your mask, practice physical distancing, and good hygiene.
For more information, please contact Stacey Lee, CEO, at 320-769-4323.