News: First Wave of COVID -19 Vaccines is Coming

We hope everyone made the best of your Thanksgiving holiday.  It certainly had a different feel this year than prior years, but hopefully there were meaningful ways that you connected with family and friends.  If you traveled, the following are some guidelines for returning home:

  1. Traveling poses some risk of acquiring COVID-19 regardless of the precautions taken.
  2. Travel itself does NOT require testing upon returning home.
  3. If you had longer than a 15-minute contact with someone who is known to have COVID-19, then you should isolate and get tested.
  4. If you feel that you have symptoms of COVID-19, please call us as soon as possible.
  5. Continue to practice the 3-Ws: Wash hands, wear a mask, Watch your distance.
  6. Be mindful of requirements for return, particularly in the city of Chicago where a quarantine requirement is in effect.

The next several weeks are going to be critical.  The number of cases and case severity is expected to jump to the highest point thus far in the pandemic.  It is best that you stay home and only go out for essential needs.  This call for us all to isolate has 2 functions:

  1. It lowers the risk to us that we might become significantly ill with the virus
  2. It minimizes the spread of the virus to others as some of us are asymptomatic carriers.

We expect to see the first vaccines be approved within the next couple of weeks.  Distribution of the vaccine will be both technically challenging given the temperature requirements that you have read about and will be logistically challenging given the numbers of people needing to be vaccinated.  We are monitoring both state and federal plans for distribution of the vaccine.  A COMPREHENSIVE PLAN HAS NOT YET BEEN RELEASED.
We anticipate that the first wave of vaccinations will be for:

  1. Healthcare workers
  2. First responders
  3. Essential workers

Vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna will be the first released.  Both will require 2 shots over a 3-week period. These are the first 2 vaccines that will become available to a sliver of the population. Other vaccines are close to becoming available and might have an easier distribution pathway.  It is important to understand that vaccines for the general population are likely still months away.  The process will require more than one injection and it takes several weeks to stimulate effective immunity within the body.  Therefore, we will be living cautiously for several more months.
Our local hospitals are full. However, we have spoken to administration and the news is reassuring.

  1. While there are higher numbers of hospitalized patients, the severity of illness in COVID patients is lower owing to improved diagnosis and treatment of the illness earlier in its course. 
  2. The hospitals have a sophisticated “surge capacity” that is accommodating larger numbers of patients. 
  3. The screening and testing mechanisms within the hospitals are keeping COVID patients separated from others and you do not need to be fearful of going to the hospital if needed.

It is critical that you continue to pay attention to good health habits as we head into the winter.  This includes:

  1. Eating healthy food
  2. Finding creative ways to get some exercise around the house
  3. Being creative with keeping your mind occupied and peaceful 

We plan to have a resource available to help you navigate the winter in these areas.  If you are having trouble accessing food or feeling overwhelmed by the situation in the coming weeks, please contact us in the office so that we may help.