8 of 15 new COVID-19 cases at New Paltz nursing facility were vaccinated
A rash of COVID-19 cases at a New Paltz nursing facility is raising questions since more than half of the infected were vaccinated.
The cases occurred at an upscale retirement and assisted living facility called Woodland Pond.
CEO Michelle Gramoglia says of the 15 positive cases discovered over the past week through routine testing, eight of them are fully vaccinated residents - and are among the most vulnerable in the community.
"One lives in our assisted living unit, then the seven others are in skilled nursing. It just means they are in the highest level of care," says Gramoglia.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says fewer than 6,000 of the 85 million Americans fully vaccinated against COVID-19 were later infected.
"No vaccine is 100% protective, so there are a small number of persons that despite fully vaccinated can get the infection," says infectious disease specialist Dr. Donald Chen.
Dr. Chen says a lot is still unknown.
"Variants are more common and may be one reason we are seeing these breakthrough cases," says Chen.
At Woodland Pond, it's unclear where the infections started. What is clear is the population of elderly residents would be in worse shape if it weren't for the vaccine.
"They won't get so sick they will be much less likely to become hospitalized or even die from COVID," says Chen.
A total of 85% of Woodland Pond's campus is vaccinated - well-above the statewide average for long-term communities, which is 72%.
As precautions are taken, visitation at the community's health center are on hold until April 26.
This is because people can still get sick and possibly spread COVID-19 after being fully vaccinated.
The CDC recommends people take actions to protect themselves and others, including mask-wearing and maintaining an appropriate distance from others.