Coronavirus (COVID-19)

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COVID-19 Vaccine Information

Florida Expands Vaccine Eligibility to All Adults 18 and Older

All Florida residents 18 years of age and older are now eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine as prescribed by the Food and Drug Administration.

The Pfizer vaccine is authorized for persons age 16 and up and the Moderna and Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) vaccines are authorized for persons 18 and up.

All individuals under the age of 18 receiving a vaccine must be accompanied by a guardian and complete the COVID-19 vaccine screening and consent form.

To download a copy of the form, click here.

Pre-register for an appointment at myvaccine.fl.gov or use the vaccine finder to find a site near you.

Vaccines for Homebound Seniors

As part of a statewide program, the Florida Division of Emergency Management recently announced a new way for homebound seniors to sign up to have a COVID-19 vaccine come directly to them. Seniors can request the COVID vaccine by emailing their full name and phone number to: HomeboundVaccine@em.myflorida.com.

The Department of Emergency Management will follow up after receiving the email with a phone call to schedule an in-home visit.

NCH Healthcare System COVID-19 Hospital Visitation Policy

Limited General Visiting Hour Guidelines

General Units & Critical Care:  9 a.m.-6 p.m.
Emergency Department:  All hours- one visitor, family unit with minors
Brookdale Rehabilitation:  12 p.m.-8 p.m.
Behavioral Health (4SE):  1-2 p.m. and 6-6:45 p.m.
Birthplace and NICU:  All hours - one visitor at a time, 18yr+
Pediatrics:  All hours - parents/guardians, 18yr+

  • Upon arrival to the hospital lobby, all visitors must practice social distancing to the extent possible and complete a screening process.
  • General visiting is limited to two visitors, age 12 and over, per patient at a time (Except Birthplace, NICU and Pediatrics).
  • Visiting for patients in isolation will be determined by clinical staff, on a case by case basis.
  • Visitors are required to wear a hospital supplied face mask for the entire time on campus, and during patient visitation.
  • Visitors will perform hand hygiene on entry to the hospital and upon entry to the patients’ room.
  • Visitors should go directly to the unit/department and report to the registration/nursing station on arrival.
  • Visitors are encouraged to limit visitation to the patient’s room and refrain from stopping in other departments. Common gathering rooms such as family rooms are not available. The cafeteria is available to visitors in need of nourishment. Dining restrictions will apply.
  • Upon exiting the patient room, visitors will wash/sanitize hands again.
  • Patients are encouraged to wear a face mask during visitation (if tolerated).
  • Visitors who violate visitation guidelines may be asked to leave the facility

DAILY COVID-19 UPDATE: Monday, April 12, 2021

NCH also wants to remind the public that if you are sick, please feel confident you can safely come to any of our facilities. Don’t wait. We don’t want patients to experience an unnecessary personal health crisis. To date, and after thousands of COVID-positive patient interactions by staff and over 50,000 tests administered, only two (2) employees has ever tested positive from workplace exposure, and those employees fully recovered and returned to work. Because of our diligent process to keep our team and our patients safe throughout the pandemic, there has only been 1 patient to patient COVID-19 exposure at NCH.

Monday, April 12, 2021: DAILY COVID-19 UPDATE

  • NCH has sent a total of 74,659 specimens for testing. The COVID-19 positivity rate for the last 7 days at NCH stands at 4.72% while the 14-day rate for Collier County is at 7.41%.

  • NCH is currently treating 41 patients who have tested positive for COVID-19. That is 1 less than we reported in our update over the weekend.

  • NCH discharged 18 patients over weekend for a total of 2,429 COVID-19 inpatients discharged since the onset of the pandemic.

  • There has been a total of 37 COVID-19 positive pediatric patients admitted to NCH since the onset of the pandemic. NCH admitted 0 pediatric COVID-19 positive patients since our last update on April 7.

  • NCH has 0 employees quarantined due to workplace exposure.

  • 3 employees have tested positive for COVID-19 and remain isolated due to family or community related exposure.

  • The number of individuals who have passed away at an NCH facility due to COVID-19 stands at 162 since the onset of the pandemic. Our thoughts and prayers go out to friends and families of these individuals.


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VACCINE FAQS

Click here for an extensive list of FAQs.

Do I need to be a resident of Florida to receive the COVID-19 vaccine?
Yes. Those seeking the COVID-19 vaccine in Florida will need to show proof of residency in order to get the initial dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

What is considered “Proof of Residency?” 
1. An adult resident must provide a copy of his or her valid Florida driver license or a copy of a valid Florida identification card.
2. An adult seasonal resident who cannot meet the requirements of the above may provide a copy of two of the following that show proof of residential address:
    a. A deed, mortgage, monthly mortgage statement, mortgage payment booklet or residential rental or lease agreement.
    b. One proof of residential address from the seasonal resident’s parent, step-parent, legal guardian or other person with whom the seasonal resident resides and a statement from the person with whom the seasonal resident resides stating that the seasonal resident does reside with him or her.
    c. A utility hookup or work order dated within 60 days.
    d. A utility bill, not more than two months old.
    e. Mail from a financial institution, including checking, savings, or investment account statements, not more than two months old.
    f. Mail from a federal, state, county, or municipal government agency, not more than two months old.
    g. Any other documentation that provides proof of residential address as determined by department rule.

Who should be vaccinated against COVID-19 infection?
Vaccination will be recommended for everyone with the above criteria, but supplies will be limited.

NCH Healthcare System will follow the guidance provided by federal and state authorities to prioritize groups for vaccinations. The guidelines have been developed by numerous national bodies, including the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices and the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine.

As availability improves, vaccines will be offered to all others in accordance to federal and state guidelines. 

How effective is the COVID-19 vaccination?
The Moderna and Pfizer/BioNtech vaccine has been studied in over 30,000 people. Experimental vaccine data indicate 94.5% efficacy after two doses. Efficacy is the measure of effectiveness obtained from a randomized controlled clinical trial. Further details regarding the effectiveness of the vaccine, such as how long the vaccination offers protection, are not yet available.

Aren't masking, social distancing and self-quarantining reasonable alternatives to COVID-19 vaccination?
Given the extent of COVID-19 spread in the U.S., masking, social distancing and self-quarantining has not been enough to contain the pandemic nor have these public health measures been fully followed. Developing large-scale immunity in the community through vaccination is key to stopping the pandemic.

Everyone will need to continue to take precautions, such as masking and physical distancing, until the spread has stopped. Until then, COVID-19 spread can continue in the community from people who have or don't have symptoms.

A person can be contagious for as many as 14 days without symptoms. A person can develop symptoms but be contagious before symptoms start. Most healthy adults may be able to infect others, beginning two days before symptoms develop and up to 10 days after becoming sick.

Will my primary provider offer vaccination for COVID-19?
Your primary care provider will not offer vaccination for COVID-19 at this time. The COVID-19 vaccine will be available in a phased approach. The vaccination may be available to NCH primary care patients at some point in the future.

Can those who have had COVID-19 get vaccinated for COVID-19?
Yes. NCH recommends getting vaccinated for COVID-19, even in those who have had COVID-19 previously.

Can I get the COVID-19 vaccine if I got the flu vaccine?
Yes. NCH recommends all patients get the flu vaccine as well as the COVID-19 vaccine when it becomes available.

Will persons who get the vaccine still have to wear a face mask?
Yes. While the vaccine is highly effective at preventing symptomatic and severe disease, it is not 100% effective, and it is not yet known how well it prevents asymptomatic infection, or how long its effects will last. Since it is possible that a person vaccinated could get COVID-19 they could still spread the virus to another person. Everyone will need to continue taking precautions like masking and physical distancing until the spread has stopped.

Can a previously healthy older person get sick with COVID-19 after taking the vaccine? Do the benefits outweigh the risks in this population?
The vaccines are not 100% effective, but they are far better than not getting vaccine. The benefits certainly outweigh the risks in healthy older persons. One cannot get COVID-19 infection from the initial COVID-19 vaccines NCH will receive as they are inactivated vaccines and not live vaccines.

Can people with an egg allergy receive the COVID-19 vaccine?
Neither the Pfizer/BioNTech nor the Moderna Inc. vaccine contain egg. The side effects for the COVID-19 vaccine are identical to the virus itself.

If people are vaccinated and develop side effects or symptoms, would they have to be tested for COVID-19?
Vaccine recipients will be provided with guidance on how to interpret side effects and symptoms, and what actions they should take following vaccination. 

What are vaccines?
A vaccine stimulates your immune system to produce antibodies, exactly like it would if you were exposed to the disease. After getting vaccinated, you develop immunity to that disease, without having to get the disease first. This is what makes vaccines such powerful medicine. Unlike most medicines, which treat or cure diseases, vaccines prevent them.

What diseases can vaccine protect against?
Thanks to vaccines, children and adults are protected from numerous diseases like chickenpox, hepatitis, mumps, diphtheria, polio, varicella (zZoster), pneumococcal pneumonia, and the flu, and we eliminated smallpox totally.

Are vaccines safe?
Making sure vaccines are safe is a priority. The CDC and FDA take many steps to make sure vaccines are very safe, both before and after the public begins using the vaccine. The COVID vaccines NCH will likely receive have been studied in over 30,000 test patients each and found to be safe. Like any medicine, vaccines can cause side effects such as a low-grade fever, or pain and redness at injection site. Mild reactions go away within a few days on their own.

How to a find a schedule for vaccines recommendations for children and adults?
Due to the COVID pandemic, there is a large number of children and adults who have missed their recommended vaccines. For a schedule of recommended childhood vaccinations (birth-18 years), visit 2021 Recommended Vaccinations for Infants and Children.

Click here for an adult vaccination schedule.

Is the annual flu vaccine still recommended?
Yes, seasonal Influenza vaccination is recommended for all people six months and older every year. If you have questions about which vaccine is best for your family, talk to your doctor or other health care professional. More information on approved flu vaccines for the 2020-2021 flu season, and age indications for each vaccine, visit the CDC website.

Is the COVID-19 vaccine made differently than the flu vaccine?
In the past, vaccines have utilized weakened versions of a virus or specific pieces of a virus to stimulate immunity. In these vaccines, the virus has been manipulated to stimulate the immune system -- but it has been altered to ensure it does not make the patient sick. There are some COVID-19 vaccines under development that follow this method of providing immunity to disease.

There is another method being researched by leading pharmaceutical companies that uses messenger RNA or mRNA methods to provide COVID-19 disease immunity.

Both vaccines use a synthetic mRNA, a molecule that tells cells how to build proteins. With it, cells are tricked into producing proteins usually found in SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, and stimulate the immune system, without making patients sick, to provide protection against infection.

The mRNA vaccines seem very hopeful and highly effective. The mRNA are also very quick and easy to produce. Where other types of vaccines take weeks of lab work, mRNA molecules can be assembled and placed in a vaccine within days.

The companies that have developed the COVID-19 vaccines will work with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to seek emergency use authorization approval to distribute the vaccines.

What is Emergency Use Authorization?
An Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) is a mechanism to make medical products available for use, during public health emergencies, such as the current COVID-19 pandemic. Under an EUA, FDA may allow the use of previously unapproved medical products, vaccines, diagnostic tests, or medications to treat life-threatening diseases or conditions when there are no adequate, approved and available alternatives.

Once submitted, FDA evaluates an EUA request, taking into account the totality of the scientific evidence about the product that is available to FDA.

Are the COVID-19 vaccines rigorously tested?
Yes. Clinical trials are evaluating investigational COVID-19 vaccines in over 30,000 study participants to generate the scientific data and other information needed by FDA to determine safety and effectiveness. These clinical trials are being conducted according to the rigorous standards set forth by the FDA. For more information on the COVID vaccine and the FDA’s EUA process, please click here.

What are the side effects of the COVID-19 vaccine?
The current vaccines that are near ready to seek EUA require two doses about a month apart. Some of the reported side effects include pain at the injection site, fatigue, muscle aches and headache. In general, vaccine side effects are short lived and far less serious than the disease it provides protection against.

Will NCH employees be required to take the vaccine? What about the seasonal workers?
The vaccine is not being required at this time, though it is strongly recommended for all healthcare workers for their protection, and the protection of NCH patients.

As we receive the vaccine allocation, the administration of the vaccine will be prioritized by healthcare worker COVID-19 risk level as recommended by the CDC and Florida Department of Health.

Healthcare workers who have the most frequent and longest exposure to COVID-19 will be vaccinated first.

All employees will be still be required to follow PPE protocols.

Eventually, like the flu vaccine, a COVID-19 vaccine may be required for all staff.


COVID Test Site Information

For those in the community desiring a COVID test, please visit the Florida Department of Health link for locations and hours: DOH-Collier COVID-19 Testing Information | Florida Department of Health in Collier (floridahealth.gov)

NCH UPDATES

There have been many questions surrounding bed capacity at NCH and we want to assure the community that our hospitals are prepared in that regard. Under normal, typical operations, NCH has 715 total beds available with 48 of those being designated as critical care beds. However, in the event that NCH had to enact its emergency COVID surge plans, we have the capability of expanding to 1000 total adult beds with 143 of those being designated as critical care.


It is important to continue to be diligent with wearing a mask. We have seen the results at our healthcare system when we follow the proper process and continue to social distance, wear our PPE and wash our hands. Please encourage your fellow community members to follow these practices and continue to be diligent to help avoid the spread of this virus.

Community members can call their primary care physician to schedule COVID-19 testing or call the Florida Department of Health in Collier County, 7 days a week from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m., to learn about other local testing sites. Their phone number is 239-252-6220. For the most recent list of testing sites, please click HERE.


TELEHEALTH/TELEMEDICINE

Telehealth: NCH has partnered with AmericanWell (Amwell) to provide Virtual Care services to the community. Those who would like to check in with a provider any time of the day or night are able to log on to a visit. Providers will escalate the virtual care to one of our Immediate Care locations if additional services are needed.

Virtual Care is able to help with ailments such as:

  • Acne
  • Allergies
  • Asthma
  • Back Strains
  • Cold Sores
  • Conjunctivitis (pink eye)
  • Common Cold
  • Influenza (Flu)
  • Minor Burns
  • Rashes
  • Sinus Infections
  • Stomach Flu
  • Upper Respiratory Illness
  • UTIs
  • Yeast Infections

The AmericanWell providers can also screen patients for symptoms of COVID-19 and will refer those who may need testing for this virus to NCH Immediate Care.  Patients who need Immediate Care services are able to gain access to care 7 days per week and are encouraged to save their place in line, avoiding long waits in our lobby areas, through our “wait at home” queue.

Telemedicine: NCH Physician Group has contracted with SecureVideo to extend virtual provider visit invitations.  These telemedicine visits are documented in Cerner and are considered the same as an office visit during the COVID emergency.  In an effort to continue to care for our patients, and acknowledging efforts to social distance, providers are evaluating the needs of the patient to have as much care as possible completed remotely.   

More Telehealth/Telemedicine Information:

Click here to view our daily COVID-19 update.


Click here for the nearest COVID-19 vaccine administrator.


Find Nearest Immediate Care Facility

Visit: Immediate & Urgent Care Centers


For Medical Records Needs

Phone: 239-624-6567, OPTION 5. 


To Donate Blood 

NCH Community Blood Center is looking for blood and platelet donors to help support the ongoing needs of area patients. Platelet donations are arranged by appointment only: 239-624-4120, option 3. Blood donations are taken on a walk-in basis. All visitors should bring and wear face masks to our branch office & bloodmobile blood drive sites. NCH Community Blood Center is authorized to collect blood from healthy donors even during state mandated directives. We are following universal precautions and following guidelines issued from CDC and FDA to keep our donors safe.
  
NCH Community Blood Center is collecting Convalescent Plasma from qualified candidates: Visit link below for details. NCH Community Blood Center is a blood product collection facility. We do not provide antibody testing for a COVID-19 diagnosis.

Visit: www.givebloodcbc.org 



NCH Center for Philanthropy

NCH Healthcare System has incurred significant costs to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, including PPE supplies, equipment, facility upgrades, clinical staffing and needs related to the well-being of our frontline healthcare workers. Many of these investments – equipment and facility upgrades, in particular – are not only assisting with the current pandemic, but improving our readiness for future public health crises. Thank you for considering a tax-deductible contribution to help protect the health and safety of our community. Read more or donate now!


Documents & Resources

Coronavirus Florida Department of Health Hotline

Phone: 1-866-779-6121
Email: COVID-19@flhealth.gov


NCH Covid-19 (SARS-CoV-2) Testing Fact Sheets for Patients & Providers


CORONAVIRUS VIDEO RESOURCES

 


CORONAVIRUS VIDEO RESOURCES (Creole)

 


CORONAVIRUS VIDEO RESOURCES (Spanish)