Dear Colleagues,

COVID-19 Cases:

BMC Total Inpatients

13

BMC Inpatients Requiring ICU Care

5

Cumulative Staff Who Have Tested Positive

1,384 (as of 11/1)

Massachusetts Cases

799,981

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

UPDATED: Moderna and J&J Vaccines Boosters Will be Available Later This Week

Last week, the CDC and FDA approved booster shots for people over 65 years old and people with certain medical conditions, jobs, or living situations who got two doses of the Moderna vaccine at least six months ago; they also approved booster shots for anyone over the age of 18 who got one dose of the J&J vaccine at least two months ago. All BMCHS employees and LIPs are eligible to receive booster doses, but it is not a workplace requirement at this time.

BMC must wait for Epic to release technical specifications for the Moderna and J&J vaccine boosters before we are able to begin administering these doses. This ensures we are able to provide safe and appropriate vaccinations to employees and patients, as well as track vaccine doses.

We expect boosters for employees and patients to be available at BMC vaccination clinics by Friday, November 5. Communication will be sent hospital-wide and to our patients once we are able to schedule and administer Moderna and J&J boosters to any newly eligible patients. Employees will be able to make appointments for booster doses on the Hub or BMC.org. Booster doses are also currently available at local pharmacies, such as CVS or Walgreens.

NEW: Information on Mixing and Matching COVID-19 Vaccine Boosters

The CDC has approved use of the "mix and match" strategy, where individuals can be boosted with a vaccine different from their primary vaccine series. While this has been shown to be associated with a higher increase in antibody levels, there is no data to suggest that the "mix and match" strategy is more effective at protecting against COVID-19 infection or severe disease at this time.

People eligible for booster doses will be able to choose their vaccine type at their appointment, as supplies allow. In most cases, selecting the same booster vaccine as the primary COVID-19 series will provide increased protection against COVID-19. However, patient preference can and should be accommodated when selecting a booster vaccine.

More information about mixing and matching vaccine types, including talking points that can be used in patient conversations, is available on the Hub.

NEW: COVID-19 Vaccines for Children 5-11 Years Old Approved

The FDA and CDC have approved the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for children 5 to 11 years old. Similar to the process with booster doses, BMC must wait for Epic to release technical specifications before we are able to begin administering these doses. We anticipate this will take one to two weeks.

Once Epic is updated, vaccines for 5-11 year olds will be available at all BMC vaccination sites. Walk-ins and appointments will also be available. Parent or guardian consent will be required for all patients of this age.

REMINDER: Masks Required in All Areas of BMCHS

As a reminder, BMCHS requires all employees and LIPS to wear masks in all campus buildings, regardless of vaccination status. This includes all administrative and non-clinical areas across the BMC Health System. Please note:

  • Surgical masks are available for patients and staff at building entrances.
  • In-person meetings are permitted, but all attendees must maintain a distance of at least three feet and be masked throughout the meeting, even in larger conference rooms.
  • Staff must maintain a physical distance of at least six feet while eating, regardless of vaccination status.
  • Masks are not required in outdoor spaces on the BMC campus.

REMINDER: COVID-19 Employee Testing Available with Expanded Holiday Hours

Getting tested for COVID-19 if you have symptoms, are exposed to someone with COVID-19, have traveled recently, or just for peace of mind is one of the best ways we can continue to help keep our patients, communities, and each other safe.

We encourage anyone to get tested for COVID-19 if you have any symptoms or have been directly exposed to a COVID-positive person. True exposures are defined as being within six feet of another individual that is COVID-positive for > 15 minutes without appropriate PPE. This definition is the same regardless of whether the individual is vaccinated or not.

All employee testing is by appointment only.

  • Symptomatic testing for employees with symptoms or exposed to a confirmed case of COVID-19 is available seven days a week. Email COVID19WWC@bmc.org to schedule an appointment.
  • Asymptomatic testing for indirect exposures and post-travel is available seven days a week. Email COVID19WWC@bmc.org to schedule an appointment.
  • Asymptomatic testing for pre-gathering, pre-travel, and peace of mind: Employees can self-schedule an appointment through MyChart. Appointments are available Monday through Friday during the day at the Crosstown ILI Clinic, 801 Mass Ave. ground floor.

Starting in mid-November we will have expanded hours for pre-and-post-holiday testing. Appointments are still required for all testing. The expanded hours for November are:

  • November 19, 22, 23: 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
  • November 24: 5 a.m. to noon
  • November 27 and 28: 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • November 29 and 30: 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.