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Augusta Health Vaccine Clinic Update: September 21, 2021

September 21, 2021
Published in: COVID-19

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In partnership with the Central Shenandoah Health District (CSHD), Augusta Health continues community vaccinations for COVID-19.

Current Vaccination Dose Count at Augusta Health:

  • Total doses given at Augusta Health Vaccination Clinics: 86,141
  • Community member fully-vaccinated at AH Vaccination Clinics: 43,946
  • Boosters for the immunocompromised 1,856

Current Situation

Over the past two weeks, the number of people in our community who have Covid-19 has grown to a similar level as it was during our peak in last December. The Covid-19 inpatient census at Augusta Health is about 30% higher than it was at our highest point in January. As we monitor the progression of the disease in our community through multiple modeling techniques, all indications are that our Covid-19 inpatient census will continue to rise through the end of September to mid-October. This creates a tremendous challenge and level of stress for the staff. Since the pandemic began, sadly, 215 members of our community have died from Covid-19. During the past four weeks, 23 people have died, and in the past week, 11 people have died.

In order for Augusta Health to continue to effectively provide care for our community, we are appealing to everyone in the Staunton, Augusta County, and Waynesboro area who is qualified to receive a COVID-19 vaccine to get your vaccination as soon as possible. Our community's low vaccination rate of 53% has resulted in an extremely high rate of the COVID-19 locally, putting severe strain on Augusta Health personnel and resources. 85% of the Covid-19 patients at Augusta Health are unvaccinated.

  • Augusta Health estimates the SAW community prevalence is at 1,200 COVID-19 patients, which is the highest number since the pandemic began. While the community experienced similar prevalence in December 2020, the Delta variant is proving to be deadlier and much easier to spread.
  • Community testing positivity rates are an important indicator of the amount of COVID-19 within a community. Johns Hopkins has stated that a testing positivity rate greater than 5% is cause for concern. In May, the WHO stated that communities should not relax quarantine measures until testing positivity rates are below 5% for two consecutive weeks. The SAW testing positivity rate is presently at 31%—the highest rate our community has ever experienced. Everyone should be aware of this number and use it to guide decisions concerning masking and attendance in crowded public spaces.
  • Augusta Health opened a Monoclonal Antibody Infusion Clinic on September 20, 2021 for COVID-positive patients in the community for patients who are early symptomatic, not hospitalized, and who qualify according to the CDC criteria.
    • Patients for this clinic are seen by physician referral only. The infusion takes about an hour and the patient is monitored for another hour after treatment.
  • Augusta Health is presently at near capacity and operating under "Red Surge" conditions, which means non-urgent and non-emergent procedures have been halted so staff can be redeployed to provide care for our hospitalized patients. Spaces have also been repurposed.
  • Because we are operating at maximum capacity, we are working to coordinate care with health systems across the Commonwealth who are not experiencing such high prevalence rates.
  • While data varies from day to day, the projected peak of this surge remains at the end of September to late October.
  • Just like other health care providers, we have applied for state and federal resources to augment our critical care staffing. As of now, we have no information on whether these requests will be fulfilled. Without relief from federal or state clinical resources, it may be necessary for Augusta Health to transfer patients to other health systems in the Commonwealth if projections prove correct and hospitalizations continue to rise.

Vaccination Eligibility

Augusta Health is vaccinating everyone age 12 and older who lives, works or goes to school in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are authorized for individuals age 18 and over. Pfizer vaccine is authorized for individuals age 12 and older; a parent or guardian must be present to consent to vaccination of those under the age of 18.

At this time, third-dose COVID-19 booster shots are available only to:

  • Individuals who are moderately or severely immunocompromised (no proof of a medical condition is required at this time); and who
  • Have already received two doses of either the Pfizer vaccine or the Moderna vaccine; and who
  • Received their second dose of vaccine more than 28 days ago.

Booster shots for other individuals have been discussed for administration on or about September 20; however, this dosage has not yet been recommended by the FDA or approved the CDC. Until those recommendations and approvals are given, appointments cannot be scheduled.

Vaccinations in Primary Care Offices

Vaccinations for COVID-19 continue in all Augusta Medical Group primary care offices. Patients who prefer to receive a vaccination from their personal physician should contact their doctor's office to be scheduled into the next available vaccination appointment block.

Community-Based Clinics

Community organizations that would like to partner with Augusta Health for a Vaccination Clinic can contact VaccinationTaskForce [at] augustahealth.com for more information on the requirements.

Large on-campus Vaccination Clinics

Appointments are preferred for clinics. Walk-ins are welcome.

Go to vaccinate.augustahealth.com to view the links and schedule an appointment. Information about new clinics, the links and the criteria for each link, are posted as available. On-campus clinics for the remainder of this week are:

  • Wednesday, September 22: PFIZER/MODERNA THIRD-DOSE BOOSTER CLINIC. For moderately and severely immunocompromised ONLY. The clinic will run from 9:00 am until 12:00 pm.

It must be at least 28 days since the second dose of vaccine. Please bring Vaccination Record Card or record of previous vaccination. The link is open on vaccinate.augustahealth.com.

  • Thursday, September 23: After school/after work clinic hours for those are unable to come during the day. The clinic will run from 3:30 pm until 7 pm. Walk-ins welcome until 6 pm.

This is a dual Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson clinic. Anyone age 12 and older may receive Pfizer vaccine; Johnson & Johnson is a one-dose vaccine available to those age 18 and older and administered if available. The link is open on vaccinate.augustahealth.com

  • Friday, September 17: PFIZER/MODERNA THIRD-DOSE BOOSTER CLINIC. For moderately and severely immunocompromised ONLY. The clinic will run from 9:00 am until 12:00 pm.

It must be at least 28 days since the second dose of vaccine. Please bring Vaccination Record Card or record of previous vaccination. The link is open on vaccinate.augustahealth.com.

Vaccination Call Center

Not everyone has access to the internet. Those who need assistance to schedule should call Augusta Health's Vaccination Call Center at (540) 332-5122. The Call Center is staffed Monday through Friday from 8:00 am until 4:30 pm to answer questions and help to schedule vaccination appointments.

Homebound patients are being vaccinated through a pilot program with Central Shenandoah EMS. Contact the Vaccination Call Center for more information.

We appreciate our continued partnership with CSHD as we work together to provide vaccines to all in the community who need them.