OSWEGATCHIE — The Ogdensburg nursing home dealing with a COVID-19 outbreak since before Thanksgiving was visited this week by pharmacists toting doses of the long anticipated Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine.
United Helpers operates several health care facilities in St. Lawrence County, including the Ogdensburg and Canton Rehabilitation and Senior Care facilities, where COVID-19 cases have surged since November.
One of 618 nursing homes in the state participating in the Pharmacy Partnership for Long-Term Care Program, the Ogdensburg nursing home held its first vaccination clinic Tuesday, five days after the Canton Rehabilitation and Senior Care facility held its first clinic.
The clinic was facilitated by pharmacists from HealthDirect, the pharmaceutical company partnered with United Helpers through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Similar to flu vaccine partnerships, the CDC-pharmacy partnership is responsible for scheduling on-site clinics, ordering vaccines and supplies — syringes, needles and personal protective equipment — ensuring cold storage, administering the vaccine and reporting required vaccination data to local, state and federal officials within 72 hours of administering each dose.
Participating pharmacies nationwide include Walgreens and CVS, and HealthDirect, Kinney Drugs and Pharmscript in New York.
Initial doses were administered to eligible residents and 50% staff at the nursing home Tuesday. A total of 209 staff and residents were vaccinated, a United Helpers spokesperson said Thursday.
Current protocol allows a dose to be administered two weeks after a recovery. As of Thursday, 88 people from the Ogdensburg home and 53 people from the Canton home have recovered from the respiratory disease over the last month and a half.
HealthDirect pharmacists are scheduled to return to Canton and Ogdensburg for second clinics later this month, when second doses and additional first doses of the Pfizer vaccine will be administered.
According to a Thursday update from United Helpers, two additional residents from the Ogdensburg nursing home tested positive for the novel coronavirus from Wednesday. The 8101 Route 68 site, less than a mile southwest of the Ogdensburg city limits, has logged 212 cases — 82 staff and 130 residents — since the outbreak began.
Three people remain hospitalized and 23 people have died of COVID-19 complications, no change from last week.
Sixteen new cases were logged Thursday at the Canton nursing home, 205 Canton-Madrid Road. With the additional eight staff and eight resident cases, the Canton home has recorded a total of 147 cases since Nov. 29. One person remains hospitalized and seven people have died, no change from Wednesday.
Visitation at the Canton and Ogdensburg locations continues to be suspended.