Dear Colleagues,

COVID-19 Cases:

BMC Total Inpatients

91

BMC Inpatients Requiring ICU Care

15

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

8

Cumulative Staff Who Have Tested Positive

776 (57 new since 12/23)

Massachusetts Cases

352,558

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

Happy New Year to all, and thank you for all those working over the holiday. Bring on 2021!

NEW: Receiving a COVID-19 Vaccination after Having COVID

We have received many questions on being vaccinated after having COVID-19. If you have recovered from COVID-19 and are no longer in isolation/quarantine, you can receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Please follow the steps in your eligibility email to schedule an appointment. Note that initially we were advising those who have recovered from COVID to wait, but have since updated our guidance.

REMINDER: Frequently Asked Questions about COVID-19 Vaccines

You can find more information about the vaccine rollout process, as well as frequently asked questions related to the employee vaccination process, on the Hub. In addition, general information about the COVID-19 vaccines can be found on bmc.org.

Some of the top questions include:

Is BMC giving both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines? Can I choose which I get?
We anticipate that BMC will continue to receive supply of both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.

Some important things to keep in mind about the two vaccines:

  • The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are clinically equivalent. Click here for more information comparing the two.
  • Employees will not be able to choose which they receive; which one you get will depend on our supply of each at the time.
  • Your second dose must be the same type of vaccine you got in the first dose. You cannot get a Pfizer vaccine for the first dose and Moderna for the second or vice versa.

If I decline the vaccine now, do I have to go to the back of the line?
No, we will vaccinate you as soon as possible, based on our supply of vaccine. However, if you know that you do want to be vaccinated, we ask that you schedule your appointment within one week of receiving the email.

Should I get the vaccine if I have allergies?
Everyone who gets the vaccine will be under clinical supervision for at least 15 minutes after the injection to make sure they do not have any signs of an allergic reaction. People who have a history of severe allergies in general will be observed for 30 minutes. If an allergic reaction is going to occur from the vaccine, it is almost certain to occur within the 30 minute period of observation.

The vaccines do not contain any food products - including eggs - and do not have any protein at all.

Should I get the vaccine if I’m pregnant?
Although there are currently no data specifically on COVID-19 vaccine safety in pregnancy, there is very low concern for safety issues, based on experience with other vaccines and the science of the COVID-19 vaccines. There is no virus in the Covid-19 vaccine and it contains only fragments of genetic material (mRNA).

Therefore, based on guidance by the FDA and the CDC, people who are pregnant may choose to get the COVID-19 vaccine at BMC. If you are pregnant, please talk to your doctor about potential risks and benefits, including your risks as a health care worker.

Thank you to the BMC maternal-fetal medicine specialists who have made themselves available for faculty and staff who want to schedule a consultation to discuss the matter in more depth. Please call 617-414-2000 to schedule.

REMINDER: Email [email protected] for All Vaccine Questions

All COVID-19 vaccine-related questions and concerns, including scheduling and eligibility questions, should be emailed to [email protected]

NEW: Tips for Talking With Patients about the COVID-19 Vaccine

As we move towards vaccinating our patients, we all have a role to play as champions for the vaccine in our communities. As health care workers, our friends, families, and neighbors will likely look to us for information on the vaccine and we should help foster dialogue, and build trust in and understanding of the vaccine.

David Henderson, MD, psychiatrist-in-chief, has put together a set of suggested approaches to discussing the vaccine with patients. You can view this advice on HealthCity.

NEW: Menino 2 PACU Bays Converted to Surge Space

Ten bays in the Menino 2 PACU Preop area have been converted into surge beds as of December 28.

NEW: COVID-19 Related Epic Updates

As COVID-19 cases increase in Massachusetts and at BMC, we continue to adapt Epic to meet our evolving clinical and workflow needs. There will be additional updates as we develop new workflows and tools, and they will be available on the eMerge site on the Hub.

If you have any technical problems or suggestions, please enter a ticket with the IT Service Desk. You can call 617-414-4500 or enter the ticket directly online: COVID-19 Request or Incident.

Recent updates include:

  • Isolation precaution evaluation reminder: The COVID banner will show how many days have elapsed since a positive COVID-19 test. This number will turn red on day 11, prompting the clinical team to evaluate whether the patient should remain on isolation precautions.
  • COVID-19 antibody testing: COVID-19 IgM antibody testing is now available for inpatients, outpatients and in the ED. Guidelines for ordering antibody testing can be found here.
  • Additional organizations available for outside hospital query: EHR data is now available from additional non-Epic institutions that are active with a data exchange called eHealth Exchange.
  • Inpatient resident access to updating the probability: Inpatient residents now have access to update the COVID probability from the COVID banner. A tip sheet can be found here.

UPDATED: Upcoming Fit Test Sessions

Drop-in fit testing will be offered for any staff member who needs fit testing in the Yawkey basement conference room B on the following dates and times.

  • Monday, December 28: 2-5 p.m.
  • Tuesday, December 29: 6-9 a.m.
  • Wednesday, December 30: 2-5 p.m.
  • Monday, January 4: 6-9 a.m.
  • Tuesday, January 5: 2-5 p.m.
  • Wednesday, January 6: 6-9 a.m.
  • Thursday, January 7: 2-5 p.m.
  • Friday, January 8: 6-9 a.m.

Please note that all staff currently wearing a Gerson 2130 or SAS N95 MUST be fit tested to a new mask as soon as possible.