LONGWOOD, the Bronx — There was cause for celebration at San Vicente de Paul nursing home Friday, because both the staff and the residents have reached herd immunity.
There was a socially distanced and masked outdoor celebration at the home, as 77% of the staff and 84% of the residents have now been vaccinated
“Almost every employee and individual resident is a member of a minority so to be the first to achieve herd immunity is an amazing outcome,” said Scott LaRue, ArchCare CEO. “We’re so proud of the team at San Vicente de Paul.”
Herd immunity was accomplished, according to ArchCare, because of three reasons: a cash incentive, a peer-to-peer ambassador program and education. Every staff member was given a $100 gift and the ambassadors each got $1,000 once more than 75% of staff and residents got that shot in the arm.
“We have three wonderful individuals that have very strong personalities and they were able to convince their peers that the vaccine was a good idea,” Maureen Boothby, director of nursing, told PIX11 News.
Now the head of ArchCare, which runs six nursing homes for the Catholic Archdiocese of New York, is hoping family members will soon be able to visit loved ones at San Vicente de Paul. Just a few days ago, the CDC changed the guidelines for nursing home visits.
Instead of requiring a facility to go 14 days without a COVID-19 positive resident or staff member, the new guidelines are if the area’s positivity rate is below 10% and more than 70% of residents are vaccinated, in person visits may be allowed.
San Vicente de Paul qualifies but the New York State Health Department has yet to adopt the new CDC rules.
“There’s been no in person visits for more than a year,” LaRue said. “The time has come where we can safely allow visits with family and loved ones.”
The head of ArchCare is hoping the state health department adopts the new CDC rules and allows in person visits now that herd immunity has been reached.