Dear Colleagues,

COVID-19 Cases:

BMC Total Inpatients

25

BMC Inpatients Requiring ICU Care

5

BMC Inpatients Under Investigation (pending + negatives treated as positives) 

5

Cumulative Staff Who Have Tested Positive

1,101 (7 new since 3/10)

Please note that a data review found 30 historical cases over the last 12 months, which are now included in the total case count.

Massachusetts Cases

572,278

Click to see the most up-to-date city, state, and national numbers: Boston | Massachusetts  | United States

NEW: Massachusetts Announces COVID-19 Vaccination Eligibility Schedule for Remaining Individuals

Today, March 17, Governor Charlie Baker announced the schedule for remaining groups to become eligible for COVID-19 vaccination in Massachusetts:

  • Public-facing workers, such as grocery store employees, transit workers, and sanitation workers, as well as residents aged 60 and over, will be eligible to book vaccination appointments starting Monday, March 22.
  • People ages 55 and over and those with one qualifying comorbidity will be able to book vaccination appointments beginning April 5.
  • The general public ages 16 and older will be eligible to book appointments starting April 19.

Vaccine supply will continue to be allocated by the federal and state governments. As more groups become eligible, BMC will open as many appointments as possible at our community vaccination sites, dependent on supply.

Currently, all people who live in Massachusetts have the option of signing up for the state’s preregistration site for vaccination appointments, to be contacted with the opportunity to book an appointment at a state-run vaccination site once one is available. People who preregister can opt out at any time if they find an appointment elsewhere. All employees are encouraged to share the preregistration link with their families, friends, and communities to help as many people as possible get vaccination appointments.

NEW: BMC Travel Policy Updated to Include Guidance for Vaccinated Employees

In order to align with Massachusetts and CDC guidance, we have updated our travel policy, effective today, March 17.

  • Under the new policy, fully vaccinated individuals without COVID-19 symptoms no longer need to be tested or quarantine after travel in order to return to work.
    • You must still notify your manager of any travel plans.
    • A fully vaccinated individual is one who has received two doses of the Moderna or Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines or a single dose of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine at least 14 days prior to travel.
  • Individuals who have not been vaccinated or who have not been diagnosed with COVID-19 within the last 90 days must still be tested upon return from travel, following BMC’s Employee Exposure Response.

Please note that travel remains discouraged, particularly as the cases of COVID-19 variants continues to rise across the country and the world. 

Domestic and international business travel remains suspended and will not be reimbursed. Exceptions to this policy may be granted by your department VP or chair under special circumstances.

REMINDER: CDC Guidance for Vaccinated Individuals Currently Applies to Non-Health Care Settings Only

Last week, the Centers for Disease Control provided interim guidance for fully vaccinated persons on small gatherings and post-exposure quarantine.

It is important to note that this guidance applies only to non-health care settings at this time. Our workplace policies regarding masking and physical distancing remain in place and are not being changed at this time.

As further scientific evidence grows and guidance from our public health institutions is updated, we will continue to review our policies and procedures.

UPDATED: COVID-19 Employee Exposure Response – Version 15 Now Available

The guidelines for response to a potential employee COVID-19 case have been updated as of March 17. The major change involves the process for employees who have been vaccinated. These guidelines are available on the COVID-19 page on Hub. Previous versions of this document should be discarded. 

NEW: Patient Vaccine Clinic Now Open in Dowling

A new patient vaccine clinic is now open on the Dowling ground floor, in the same site as employee vaccinations. This clinic accepts both scheduled visits and walk-ins for BMC patients, and is open:

  • Monday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Friday 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

As a reminder, the hours for employee vaccination are now:

  • Monday through Thursday, 8-10 a.m.
  • Friday, 3-5 p.m.

NEW: Updates to Ambulatory Clinic Visit Policies

The policies for in-person Ambulatory visits have been updated. Patients who are fully vaccinated may not require negative testing or enhanced precautions based on vaccination status, timing, symptoms, and exposure type.

  • All in-person Ambulatory visits: Fully vaccinated patients are appropriate for in-person visits without enhanced precautions or negative testing if they meet all of the following criteria:
    • Are asymptomatic for COVID-19.
    • Have documentation of two doses of either the Moderna or Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines OR who have received a single dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine at least 14 days before the visits.
    • Do not have ongoing exposure to a confirmed positive case.
  • Patients with recent travel from a high-risk state: Fully vaccinated patients who have recently traveled from a high risk state are appropriate for in-person visits without enhanced precautions or negative testing if they meet the following criteria:
    • Are asymptomatic for COVID-19.
    • Have documentation of two doses of either the Moderna or Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines OR who have received a single dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine at least 14 days before the visits.

NEW: Updates and Information for Patients Who Are Not U.S. Citizens

Homeland Security issued a final rule officially removing the Trump Administration’s public charge regulation. This means only the receipt of cash assistance for income maintenance (e.g. SSI, TANF) or institutionalization for long-term care at government expense are considered in public charge determinations, which could lead to a person being denied a green card, visa, or admission into the United States.

As a reminder, patients do not need to be a U.S. citizen to receive a COVID-19 vaccine when they are eligible. Anyone who lives in Massachusetts, regardless of immigration status, can receive a COVID-19 vaccination at a site in the state. You do not need to provide an ID or Social Security number to get the COVID-19 vaccine. Getting the COVID-19 vaccine will not have any negative impact on the chances of getting a green card.