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Local skilled nursing facilities vaccinating residents, staff this week

The COVID-19 vaccine
Posted at 6:04 PM, Jan 05, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-06 00:22:07-05

Vaccine distribution is underway on the Central Coast.

San Luis Obispo County Public Health was allocated 10,775 doses, administering roughly 20% so far. Santa Barbara County was given 16,775 doses, administering about 54% by Tuesday.

Additional doses are also ending up in the arms of Central Coast residents at care facilities.

An estimated 360 vaccines were administered to workers and residents on Tuesday at Compass Health's Morro Bay location. This marks the largest number of vaccines administered in a single day at all 7 locations.

"I really feel like it's important for me individually to help with how to eradicate this," said Laurie Zirbel, Registered Nurse at Compass Health.

Registered nurses that care for the most vulnerable population in care facilities are now receiving the COVID-19 vaccine.

"We've been very anxious to get these vaccines within our setting," said Darren Smith, Compass Health CEO.

With COVID-19 hitting skilled nursing facilities hard nationwide, most workers and residents at Vineyard Hills in Templeton, Mission View in San Luis Obispo, and Arroyo Grande Care Center are now vaccinated with the first round of the Pfizer vaccine.

"For any congregate living setting it is critical to get this, to protect the people because it can be very devastating when you do have an outbreak," Smith explained.

This week, residents and staff at Bayside Care Center, Casa de Flores, and Danish Care Center also have the option to get the free vaccine.

"We are noticing about a 90% with our resident population of acceptance and we're seeing about 75% to 80% with our staff," Smith said.

"For me, honestly, I felt, I'm also one that gets the flu shot every year, and being that they weren't going to be inserting any live COVID-19 virus, I felt pretty comfortable," said Erica Gomez, Compass Health Human Resources Employee.

By the week's end, over 1,000 total doses will be administered at all San Luis Obispo County Compass Health locations. That's out of the roughly 1,400 doses available in collaboration with CVS Pharmacy.

"Then we'll start catching up the people who missed or weren't available for whatever reason," Smith said.

"I really want to help the elderly population and the people that are most vulnerable," Zirbel said. "I think it's my duty. That's why I signed up for this."

Forms of visitation are allowed at Compass Health facilities if the location is not facing any active COVID-19 cases.

A federal program is also underway which allows Compass Health to rapid test staff each time they come to work.