Information about COVID-19
2020 is officially behind us, but the coronavirus pandemic is still very much a reality. Gulf Coast Health Care remains focused on the wellbeing of our patients as we navigate the situation. As COVID-19 continues to impact the lives of all Americans, we have collected a set of useful information and resources that will help you stay safe and healthy.
The good news is there’s reason to be hopeful that things may get back to normal soon. Vaccinations are being delivered to frontline professionals and at-risk individuals as we speak, and because many of our GCHC patients fit the at-risk criteria, we will ensure that everyone is kept up to date on the status of vaccine availability in our treatment centers. Patients, as well as their friends and families, should check this page frequently as more information becomes available. Until then, please take a moment to learn more about everything GCHC is doing to keep people safe and healthy amid the spread of COVID-19.
COVID-19 Resources and News
- Safety Guidelines – Everyone working and living in our centers is highly encouraged to follow these social distance guidelines, which were provided by the CDC.
- Visitation Guidelines – We want you to have complete access to your loved one, but to keep everyone in our treatment centers safe, GCHC has established a set of rules regarding visitation. Please review this information before scheduling a visit.
- A message from our president – Brett Barnet, the president of Gulf Coast Health Care, shared this message with our patients and their family to emphasize our ongoing efforts.
- Rensair air scrubbers – Learn more about the advanced devices we use that can kill up to 99.97% of airborne pathogens, including the novel coronavirus.
The COVID-19 vaccine
COVID-19 vaccinations have been officially approved and are now being administered across the world. This is a breakthrough in the fight against the coronavirus and among the most exciting developments in recent medical history. Here are some things to know about the vaccinations:
- GCHC is in the process of securing COVID-19 vaccines to administer to our healthcare workers and patients. The rollout will be based on priority and access to necessary materials.
- The vaccine requires two separate doses that are administered about three to four weeks apart. GHCH will ensure that every resident and medical professional in our centers receives both doses.
- With its approval from the CDC and the FDA, the COVID-19 vaccine has undergone the same level of testing as other vaccines, and success rates are coming in at over 99%.
- Few patients may experience short-term side effects after vaccination, but this is an indication that the vaccine is working to produce protective virus antibodies; the possibility of long-term, dangerous side effects of the COVID-19 vaccine are exceptionally low.
As the vaccine reaches frontline workers and at-risk individuals across the country, Gulf Coast Health Care will continue to uphold our quality of care and ensure the safety of all patients. Then, once we are able, we will roll out vaccinations in a safe and comprehensive manner, delivering patients and their families the peace of mind they’ve been seeking. Speak to your facility’s representatives to learn more.
Are long-term care centers for seniors at high-risk for COVID-19?
Unfortunately, yes. Older people are at higher risk for the virus in general, as are people with underlying conditions like diabetes, heart disease, and respiratory illness. Both groups make up the vast majority of the country’s 1.3 million nursing home patients. Due to their nature, long-term care centers can sometimes experience high virus transmission rates – even during the healthiest and safest of conditions. GCHC has upgraded our already rigorous standards to ensure that transmission rates are kept as low as possible, and we are asking you to lend a hand by thoroughly reviewing our visitation guidelines.
How is COVID-19 treated?
There is no official treatment for COVID-19. Much like other diseases caused by coronaviruses, such as the common cold, the symptoms go away on their own accord, and the duration and severity of the infection largely depends on the patient’s preexisting medical conditions. Our physicians have prescribed pain relievers and fever reducers to help with mild cases. Serious cases can require more invasive treatment and are determined on a case-by-case basis. GHCH’s goal is to follow all social distancing protocols to ensure transmission rates in our centers remain as close to zero as possible, thereby avoiding treatment of any kind.
What are Gulf Coast Health Care centers required to do to prevent the spread of coronavirus?
We adhere to the CDC’s guidelines and strategies for nursing homes and other long-term care centers to ensure safety for all our patients. Our efforts include – but are not limited to – identifying infection early, preventing spread by limiting patient-to-patient contact, supplying patients with proper PPE and other mitigation supplies like hand sanitizer, and designating specific COVID-19 treatment spaces that are apart from and do not impact general treatment spaces.
Can I request that my friend or family member be tested for COVID-19?
Not everyone needs to be tested for coronavirus. A patient’s healthcare provider will determine if a test is required and will keep you in the loop with all pertinent information, including test results. If your loved one is experiencing symptoms of coronavirus, you can talk to their primary healthcare provider about whether they should receive a test.
What happens if my loved one gets COVID-19?
GCHC is in strict accordance with the CDC guidelines for nursing home patients who test positive for COVID-19. We follow every step necessary to not only ensure the wellbeing of your loved one, but also the wellbeing of every other resident they may have contracted while positive. This means a 14-day quarantine, regular testing from our staff, and the frequent monitoring of symptoms. Most patients can recover from COVID-19 during this period; others may require more serious treatment that will be determined by their physician and communicated to you and your family in full detail.
Why should patients and healthcare professionals receive a COVID-19 vaccine?
Receiving a COVID-19 vaccine is the best and safest way to reduce a person’s chance of becoming sick from the coronavirus. For patients with serious underlying conditions, it is the only way to guarantee that COVID-19 does not exacerbate their already compromised health. The decision to get vaccinated also protects more than just their own wellbeing — it also protects their physicians, their friends and family, and their fellow patients.
For healthcare professionals, the essential role they have in ending the pandemic, as well as their increased risk of getting COVID-19 and spreading it to their patients in the facility, makes it crucial for them to receive a vaccine. It’s all part of the effort to make GHCH centers as safe as possible.