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Wichita long-term care facility reports possible ‘break through infections’ of COVID-19

Published: Apr. 23, 2021 at 6:06 PM CDT
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - Although rare, it is possible for fully vaccinated people to get COVID-19. Some health officials refer to these cases as “breakthrough infections.” A Wichita long-term care facility is reporting the possibility of this rare occurrence. Despite catching the virus, doctors said the news isn’t grim.

At the Mount Saint Mary long-term care facility, seven people tested positive for COVID-19. This includes five senior residents who are fully vaccinated and are asymptomatic. They are all quarantining, the congregation of St. Joseph reported.

The congregation issued the following statement in response to the cases.

“We can confirm seven positive COVID-19 diagnoses of five residents and two staff persons at our center in Wichita, KS this past week. The residents who tested positive are currently in quarantine at home. We have and continue to follow all health department and CDC safety protocols in order to protect all who live and work at the center. This includes having staff temperatures taken at the start of each shift, and using personal protective equipment including gloves, masks and gowns. Our priority continues to be health, safety and care of our sisters and residents.”

Sedgwick County Health Officer Dr. Garold Minns said the good news comes with the infected residents being asymptomatic.

“We need to emphasize the fact they didn’t get ill. They didn’t get sick,” he said. They didn’t end up in a hospital, they didn’t end up in the ICU. That is good news.”

Mount Saint Mary’s two staff members who tested positive for COVID-19 are also reportedly quarantining at home.

Ascension Via Christi Director of Infection Prevention said she doubts that the staff members were vaccinated. She said, however that vaccines are not 100 percent effective, but Pfizer and Moderna are 94 or 95 percent effective at preventing the illness.

“Numbers over 90 percent is really very good as far as vaccines go,” Dr. Hagan said. “Many of the vaccines that we commonly use have much lower efficacy rates, including the flu vaccine.”

The CDC reported that out of more than 87 million people who have been fully vaccinated in the U.S., 7,000 still got infected. Of that total, 500 needed to be hospitalized.

“What we do see with these vaccines is they are very effective, close to 100 percent effective in preventing COVID infections that lead to death,” she said.

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