By TOM LAVENTURE
Ironwood — Westgate Nursing, Rehabilitation and Assisted Living in Ironwood will hold two rounds of COVID-19 vaccinations in January, followed by a booster vaccination around 20 days later, according to a facility official.
Under the private-public partnership model the long-term care facilities within the Westgate family are working with Walgreens or CVS to provide free, on-site COVID-19 vaccinations for residents and staff, said Mike Deverso, vice president business development for Westgate in Gahanna, Ohio. The Westgate facility in Ironwood is partnered with Walgreens and staff of the pharmacy will provide the Moderna brand vaccine at a series of three clinics to be held at the full time care, skilled nursing and assisted living facility with a total of 99 beds.
The first vaccination clinic for staff and residents will be held Jan. 22 at Westgate, with a followup alternate vaccination date to be announced in the near future, Deverso said. The second booster vaccination for individuals who receive the initial vaccination will occur approximately 20 days after the initial vaccination at a date yet to be announced, he said.
“This is certainly going to make a difference,” Deverso said of the effect of the vaccinations on everyday life at the facility. “Right now we are taking guidance from CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), the local health department and the state as we continue following the protocols that were outlined for us, and we certainly hope this turns out to be a light at the end of the tunnel for all of us here.”
Westgate has experienced COVID-19 cases among staff and residents, Deverso said. The employees are diligent in learning and following new training protocols and are now using state of the art ultraviolet sanitizers that will kill the coronavirus, he said.
“Regardless of all that we do to prevent the spread we still have incidents of infection that occur, and that is industry wide,” Deverso said.
Overall, Westgate and the industry have done a very good job with COVID-19 prevention, he said. But infections have impacted full time care, skilled nursing, independent living and assisting living across the board.
“Our organization is confident and the teams here have really stepped up by working long hours, through the holidays and we are pretty proud of what we have been able to do,” Deverso said. “The healthcare industry has been very heavily hit with COVID-19 and we are looking forward to the vaccinations.”
Walgreens is scheduled to provide the first round of the Moderna vaccine to employees and the residents of Villa Maria Health and Rehabilitation Center in Hurley on Monday, and at Gogebic Medical Care Facility in Wakefield on Jan 7.