A vaccinated workforce is in the best interest of public health, along with employee and resident safety. The Deerfield Board of Directors has approved a requirement for all Deerfield employees to be fully vaccinated for COVID-19 by October 1, 2021.
“We are among the first senior living/health care providers in Western North Carolina to mandate the vaccine,” said Bob Wernet, CEO of Deerfield. “We know that others will soon be joining the efforts to help put an end to this long-fought battle against the virus.”
Healthcare organizations across the state have made similar requirements for their employees. Deerfield residents are already over 99% vaccinated and our employees are currently 83% vaccinated for COVID-19. While this is a high percentage of vaccinated staff, employers have a responsibility to provide a safe workplace, free of preventable hazards.
The Delta variant of the virus that causes COVID-19 is much more dangerous than the version of the virus that circulated last year. It is highly transmissible and is spreading rapidly in our region. Statistics show that 97% of those hospitalized with COVID-19 are unvaccinated. The only way to prevent the emergence of variants is mass vaccination. The mandatory vaccination program applies to all Deerfield employees and vaccines must be completed by October 1, 2021. The vaccines are safe and effective. Individuals will only be hired after receiving the first of a two dose vaccine series and completing the vaccine series within 30 days. There will be a few allowed exemptions from the COVID-19 vaccine and each will be reviewed on a case by case basis.
Per the latest CDC guidelines and Deerfield COVID-19 mitigation measures, all persons vaccinated or not, will be required to wear masks indoors in public spaces at Deerfield. Residents are not required to wear a mask when outdoors. Guests are currently permitted on campus, but must wear a mask at all times, regardless of vaccination status. SARS-CoV2 has evolved, data will therefore change, and public health guidance must adapt. As always, we at Deerfield are following a science-driven, cautious, deliberate approach to COVID-19 mitigation.
COVID-19 testing is readily available, painless, easy and efficient. It is important to identify cases of COVID-19, even when they are mild, so that we can take steps to prevent transmitting the disease forward to others.
Shortness of Breath
Muscle or Body Aches
New Loss of Taste or Smell
Congestion or Runny Nose