November 25, 2020
The COVID-19 positivity rate for Baltimore County is over 10%. Based on the guidelines issued by Maryland Department of Health (MDH) and the Federal Government and given a positivity rate over 10%, we have to stop inside visits to the community, except for compassionate care or end of life visits, effective today, November 25, 2020. All inside visits that have been already scheduled are cancelled. Outside visits are still allowed but all visitors to the nursing home and assisted living must have proof of a negative COVID-19 test result within 72 hours prior to their visit. Please bring a copy of the test results for each individual who is visiting and give it to the Duty Officer or receptionist at the front desk when you check in for your visit. We will maintain the proof along with our visitor logs.
Please contact Tricia Selko, Volunteer Coordinator, to schedule an outside visit. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Tricia also has a list of those residents who are considered appropriate for compassionate care or end of life inside visits. Since we do not have an outbreak, we can still have communal dining and limited activities. The Beauty Salon remains open. This remains a very fluid situation. Inside visits can resume If the positivity rate drops below 10% and we have no positive cases. We are checking positivity rate data regularly.
We have tested nursing home residents and staff this week but the results are still pending. We are now testing the staff who work in the nursing home twice a week. I will provide another update on Friday with the results of these tests.
Here is the cumulative report of Pickersgill’s experience with the COVID-19 virus since April 1, when we were informed of our first positive resident, including today’s update. I am only including positive cases in the cumulative report:
- One assisted living resident tested positive for the virus.
- One nursing home resident tested positive for the virus.
- Eleven staff tested positive for the virus.
Guidance for Family Gatherings as COVID-19 Cases Increase
Both the MDH and CMS are strongly discouraging residents from leaving the community to attend family gatherings like Thanksgiving. We agree with this position. Given the recent surge in COVID-19 cases in the community and the high positivity rate, leaving Pickersgill to attend a family gathering could increase a resident’s risk for exposure to COVID-19. Residents have the right to leave the community and attend a family gathering if they so choose. We support that right.
If you decide to take your family member out of the community to celebrate Thanksgiving, please make sure that you and the resident are following all appropriate infection control practices, including wearing a face mask when not eating, maintaining social distance and performing hand hygiene. Of course, please let nursing know if you decide to include the resident in your Thanksgiving celebration. In order to protect the other residents in the community, we will quarantine for 14 days any resident who leaves the building to attend a family gathering. Whatever you decide to do, I wish you and your family a happy, healthy and safe Thanksgiving.
Mitigating Actions to Prevent or Reduce Risk
As you know, and I have reported previously, we have taken many mitigating actions to prevent or reduce the risk of transmission of the virus since the public health emergency was instituted. I provide this section with every update in compliance with Federal regulations. Some of the actions we had taken in the past had ended as we had been able to relax restrictions. However, we will re-institute these restrictions again if we have an outbreak or at the direction of the MDH. We have stopped outside visitors and deliveries from entering the building, separated the apartment residents from the assisted living and nursing home residents, ended all communal dining for residents, and encouraged our residents to remain in their room and practice social distancing. We continue to encourage residents to wear a face mask when they are not in their room, wash their hands regularly, and practice social distancing. We are checking all assisted living and nursing home residents’ temperature and oxygen levels daily. We actively screen daily all healthcare staff, employees and essential vendors who enter the building according to CDC guidelines; this includes taking their temperature upon entry and denying entry of those with COVID-19 signs or symptoms. We require all employees to wear a face mask and other appropriate Personal Protective Equipment, as necessary, when interacting with or caring for a resident.
We are following CDC, CMS, and Maryland Dept. of Health guidelines and testing any resident or employee who states that they have a respiratory symptom that could be a symptom of COVID-19. In addition, we are requiring that a resident is tested before being readmitted to the community from a hospital or other nursing home. If an assisted living or nursing home resident has symptoms and is being tested, they are under strict isolation in their room. An isolation cart is outside their room and any staff who enter the room wear a face mask, face shield, gloves and gown. The resident also wears a face mask when an employee is in the room. This procedure continues until the test results are negative and the resident no longer has symptoms. Employees who have symptoms are excused from work until their test results are negative or they no longer have symptoms.
We are posting this same information on our website, www.pickersgillretirement.org on the News page. If there is someone with whom you would like to share this information, please have them visit our website.
Please contact me if you have any questions or concerns about this information. Thank you.