At this time, all of our communities have completed their on-site priority access vaccine clinics. We are encouraged to see case counts nearly disappear throughout our organization, due to the efficacy of vaccines. Numbers have plummeted across the senior living industry as well, which allows us to implement positive changes throughout the country that benefit our residents.
This past year we have learned a lot about the virus and implemented several protocols in order to keep our residents safe. One area we have paid special attention to is the social-emotional benefit seniors receive from seeing their friends and family. While all Heritage Communities locations have offered opportunities for residents to see their loved ones throughout the pandemic, we are excited to announce our doors are open more now than they have been this past year. At this time, because of the high adoption rate of the COVID-19 vaccine and minimal case counts, all residents are allowed to have guests in the community and leave to visit loved ones without quarantining upon return, as long as there are no active cases. Each Heritage Communities location will determine the appropriate time for adjusting other protocols such as removing plexiglass from the dining room, sizes of activities and organized outings, and infection control processes will still be followed.
We understand there may be questions surrounding when masks can be removed and when we will return to a state of pre-pandemic normalcy in our communities. We, too, are eagerly awaiting this day and anxiously anticipate updated direction from CDC and other regulatory entities on this topic. For now, we will continue to stay diligent in this area until we have more clear instruction and celebrate the encouraging step forward of reuniting residents with loved ones.
While the vaccine is not mandatory for new residents upon admission, we strongly encourage it. For any new resident that would like more information, our team is prepared to answer questions and help coordinate a vaccine appointment. We are also closely monitoring any potential negative side effect or areas of concern with variant strains related to COVID-19. These variants, along with specific virus numbers in each county, may prompt minor adjustments in protocols where necessary. For questions or assistance please speak to the Executive Director or Director of Healthcare at a Heritage Communities location near you.