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Staff vaccination rates at Barnwell are less than 50 percent

May 21, 2021 6:00 am

Natasha Vaughn is reporting for Columbia-Greene Media a group of COVID-19 cases at the Grand Rehabilitation and Nursing at Barnwell in Valatie has grown and none of staff members that tested positive has been vaccinated, according to the Columbia County Department of Health. Department of Health Director Jack Mabb said Thu., May 20, the number of positive COVID cases at the facility has grown from 11 to 16 residents and from eight to 11 staff members. “The 11 staff, none of them are vaccinated,” Mabb said. “I have heard throughout these last couple months that a lot of nursing homes staff, and even a lot of folks that work in hospitals, were not taking the vaccine, and I just personally feel that there is some obligation, if you work with senior citizens, or a vulnerable population like nursing home residents that you should get the vaccination.” State Department of Health public information officer Jeffrey Hammond said all medically eligible nursing home residents and staff in New York have been offered a COVID-19 vaccine. He said 84 percent of nursing home residents in the county have been vaccinated and 54 percent of the staff at all facilities are vaccinated. At Barnwell, 43.2 percent of the staff were fully vaccinated as of May 19, according to state Health Department data. Among the five nursing facilities in Columbia County Barnwell has the lowest rate of vaccinated staff, after the Firemen's Home, Pine Haven, Ghent Rehabilitation and Livingston Hills. New York state does not require all individuals to get vaccinated, nor is there a federal mandate to get inoculated, but state law requires all nursing homes to offer all consenting, unvaccinated, existing and new personnel and residents the opportunity to get vaccinated. “We don’t believe that any of the nursing homes are requiring vaccinations at this point,” Mabb said. “I just think its horrendous, if you’re going to work with a vulnerable population, you should get the vaccine.” Columbia County reported two new positive COVID cases as of Thursday morning, but neither were from Barnwell, Mabb said. Barnwell management has been unavailable for comment since the outbreak began last week, despite multiple requests. Read the full story at HudsonValley360 [dot] com.