Update on COVID-19

CDC Guidance for Holiday Celebrations
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Mountain Health Network (MHN) continues to closely monitor the spread of novel coronavirus (COVID-19). Health officials and medical professionals around the world are working at unprecedented speed to help halt the spread of COVID-19. Cabell Huntington Hospital and St. Mary’s Medical Center has experience with handling infectious diseases and infection control of viruses, like COVID-19. Our infection prevention teams are working in conjunction with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources and local authorities to provide information and implement policies intended to ensure the continued health and safety of our community.

Recently, the CDC updated Interim Public Health Recommendations for Fully Vaccinated People, on May 13, 2021. These do not apply to healthcare settings. Healthcare facilities will continue to follow all current COVID-19 infection prevention and control recommendations, including those addressing work restrictions, quarantine, testing and use of personal protective equipment to protect themselves and others from COVID-19, even while the CDC has relaxed recommendations for members of the general public who are fully vaccinated.

Healthcare facilities will continue to communicate with staff and patients that this community guidance is not meant to be applied in the healthcare setting where extra precautions are necessary to protect vulnerable patient populations. This means that staff, patients, residents and visitors should continue to wear masks in all healthcare facilities. 

All protocols are intended to protect our employees and enable them to provide care in the safest manner possible. These preparations are part of our mission to meet the health care needs of our community and align with World Health Organization standards and are incorporated in our formal emergency response plans.

Based upon existing knowledge, practice, capabilities and capacities within the hospital, the health system and the community, these plans include preparedness to respond to both internal and external emergencies, such as coordination of responses to specific risks of an imminent or ongoing epidemic.

How can you help? Much like steps taken for cold and flu season, routine prevention is key.

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick. You should be fever-free for 24 hours prior to returning to work and should wear a mask if exhibiting ongoing respiratory illness symptoms.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, and then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
  • Follow the Mountain Health Network Visitation Guidelines
  • When available to you, get the vaccine. Vaccination is the single most effective strategy we have to stop this pandemic and resume normal life.
Immunity Caused by the Vaccine

Here is how the vaccine works:

  • The current COVID-19 vaccines give instructions for our cells to make a harmless piece of what is called the “spike protein.” 
  • Next, the cell displays the protein piece on its surface. Our immune systems recognize that the protein doesn’t belong there and begin building an immune response and making antibodies, like what happens in natural infection against COVID-19.
  • At the end of the process, our bodies have learned how to protect against future infection.
  • There is not enough information currently available to say whether or for how long after vaccination someone is protected from getting COVID-19 again. Early evidence suggests natural immunity from COVID-19 may not last very long, but more studies are needed to better understand this.

The West Virginia COVID-19 Vaccine Registration System can be accessed at vaccinate.wv.gov. West Virginians who need assistance with pre-registration for any reason should call the West Virginia COVID-19 Vaccine Info Line for help at 1.833.734.0965. The Info Line is open Monday-Friday 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Saturday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Working together to keep you safe and informed.

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