NEWPORT — Residents and staff at the diocesan St. Clare Newport and Saint Antoine senior living and skilled nursing facilities have begun to receive vaccinations to help protect them from COVID-19.
St. Clare-Newport held its first Vaccination Clinic on January 8 for skilled nursing facility residents and staff.
“Because the state did not receive its full allotment of vaccine, they decided to pull the assisted living facilities out of this first round,” said Mary Beth Daigneault, administrator of St. Clare-Newport.
Daigneault said the facility recently completed 182 new COVID-19 tests, and preliminary reports showed that one resident in assisted living had tested positive for the virus.
“This individual is asymptomatic, as have been those individuals with most recent positive test results. For this I continue to be grateful,” she said.
Daigneault said she is very appreciative of the support so many have shown the St. Clare-Newport community throughout this crisis, sharing kind words, notes and goodies with staff.
“Our St. Clare community is truly blessed to have such wonderful families and staff,” Daigneault said.
Meanwhile, in North Smithfield, the Saint Antoine Community is also in the midst of vaccinating its residents and staff.
On December 29, about 75 residents and 60 staff members received the vaccine in the first round.
“The Pfizer-Biontech COVID-19 vaccine could not be administered to all our residents and staff that week due to limitations in quantity received,” said Debrah Putman, interim director of the Saint Antoine Community.
Putman said that the second round of vaccinations for The Residence at Saint Antoine has been tentatively scheduled for January 19 and 26.
“The Rhode Island Department of Health is anticipating that The Villa and all licensed assisted living facilities will be issued the COVID-19 vaccine mid-January. Once an official date has been confirmed, authorization forms will be issued, families will be notified, and a schedule will be announced,” Putman said.
After a long, difficult year of working to keep members of the community safe during a pandemic, availability of the vaccine is giving everyone a sense of hope.
“This has been an incredibly long and hard year — but with the arrival of the vaccine to our campus — hope has been restored,” Putman said.
“Our residents and staff have all found comfort in knowing that 2021 may bring their families back into our community again. We miss them all and look forward to seeing them again soon.”
As of press time on January 12, 661 positive cases of COVID-19 had been identified in the previous day through testing, for a positivity rate of 5.7 percent. The R.I. Department of Heath also reports that nearly 2.2 million tests have been performed since testing began, and more than 1,970 fatalities attributed to COVID-19 have been recorded in Rhode Island. Nationwide, more than 375,000 have died from the novel coronavirus.