November 20, 2020
I am pleased to report good news again this week. All staff were tested this past Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. We have received the results for all employees and everyone is negative for COVID-19. As far as we know, no staff have respiratory symptoms that warrant testing. No residents were tested this week. No one has COVID-19 or has any COVID-19 related symptoms at this time.
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.
Changes to Inside Visiting Procedures
Since we do not have an outbreak, we can continue to have inside visits, communal dining and limited activities in assisted living and the nursing home. The Beauty Salon is open. I described the procedure for inside visits in my November 13th update. However, as a result of the dramatic increase in COVID-19 cases and the positivity rate, there are significant changes on how visits will be conducted based on the Amended Directives and Orders issued by the Maryland Department of Health (MDH).
The COVID-19 positivity rate for Baltimore County and the state continue to increase. As of November 18th, the State positivity rate was 7.2% and the Baltimore county rate was over 8%. Given this situation, we are making the following changes to inside visits:
1. 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. Given that there is not a separate entrance for the nursing home or assisted living and all visitors walk the same hallways, and the current surge in positive cases, we have decided that all visitors to assisted living and the nursing home must provide 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.
2. The number of visitors for nursing home residents are being reduced because the positivity rate is between 5 and 10%. MDH guidance, given this positivity rate, is that the nursing home shall restrict the number of indoor visits to no more than 5% of the total residents in the facility. Consequently, only 2 nursing home residents can have visitors during any time slot for visits. This meets the 5% guideline.
3. The number of visitors allowed in assisted living is not changing at this time.
4. These changes will go into effect on Monday, November 23rd .
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, 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 do that. 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.
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 and they are ending again. However, we will re-institute these strict restrictions again if we have an outbreak. 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.