COVID-19 vaccine rollout at nursing homes in SCV still pending

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The rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine for residents and staff members of nursing homes across California has commenced, but those in the Santa Clarita Valley continue to wait. 

There are nearly 760 settings across Los Angeles County with active coronavirus cases as of Friday, according to data from the county Public Health Department, which indicated its count is “dynamic and may not reflect real-time investigation counts for these settings.” 

Among the list was Atria Santa Clarita, with 18 cases among residents and 26 staff; Oakmont of Santa Clarita with 18 residents and 10 staff; Pacifica Senior Living Santa Clarita with 31 residents and 12 staff; Santa Clarita Home for the Elderly in Saugus, with five residents and three staff; Santa Clarita Post Acute Care Center in Newhall, with 51 residents and 37 staff; and Sunrise at Sterling Canyon with three residents and 13 staff. 

California Department of Public Health officials announced Thursday that all three tiers within its Phase 1A could now receive vaccinations, meaning residents of skilled nursing facilities, assisted living facilities and similar long-term care settings for older or medically vulnerable individuals would be included. 

The goal is to have all persons prioritized in this phase inoculated by the end of January, according to Public Health officials, who added that “vaccinations are proceeding rapidly with staff and residents at skilled nursing facilities.” 

Through a federal program, CVS and Walgreens started setting up onsite clinics in California just after Christmas, but in Los Angeles County clinics are not expected to commence until next week, according to Public Health officials. 

Timelines of when Santa Clarita Valley-based long-term care facilities and CVS and Walgreens will commence the process is not exactly yet known, according to some settings and workers. 

Representatives with Atria Senior Living, which has a location on Lyons Avenue, did not specify an estimated time but that they expected vaccinations to begin “very soon” via CVS. 

“We will have the first vaccine clinic at another Atria community in California later this week, and we anxiously await our Atria Santa Clarita Valley clinics to be scheduled through CVS hopefully very soon,” officials said Monday in an emailed statement. 

Calls for updates to the site, as well as for several others locally, were not returned. 

Pharmacy workers at local Walgreens and CVS said they also anticipated to have clinics set up soon for long-term care facilities but that they had yet to be briefed with a date for their clinics. 

Gov. Gavin Newsom said on Dec. 28 the vaccination process through Walgreens and CVS is estimated to take three to four weeks. 

“We’re dealing with a vulnerable population that requires onsite and, in some cases, in-room visits at facilities with fewer than 100 residents on average,” Larry J. Merlo, President and CEO of CVS Health said in a prepared statement on Wednesday. “Despite these challenges, we remain on schedule, and the number of vaccines we administer will continue to rise as more facilities are activated by the states.”

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