November 13, 2020
I am pleased to report good news again this week. All assisted living and nursing home residents were tested this past Monday, November 9th. No one has COVID-19 or has any COVID-19 related symptoms at this time. All staff were also 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.
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.
Pickersgill’s Outbreak Status is Closed
We have met the Maryland Health Department (MDH) requirements for closing the outbreak. We have not had any positive cases for more than 14 days and have had two complete rounds of testing after the outbreak was declared. MDH informed us today that the outbreak is closed. That means we will be able to loosen up restrictions again and start inside visits, communal dining and limited activities. The Beauty Salon will also be able to open.
Relaxation of Restrictions
We will resume inside visits, communal dining and limited activities in assisted living and the nursing home starting on Monday, November 16. We hope to open the Beauty Salon on Monday, November 16th depending on Janet and Susan’s availability. CMS guidelines have very specific criteria we need to follow in order to implement indoor visits:
1. We must have had no new onset COVID-19 cases in the last 14 days and are not currently conducting outbreak testing. This is the most important criteria; communities cannot begin visiting if this criterion is not met. In addition, the county positivity rate must be less than 10%. Currently the county positivity rate is over 5%.
2. Visitors must comply with and adhere to the core principles of infection control.
3. We must limit the number of visitors per resident as well as the number of visitors in the building at any given time.
4. We must limit the movement of visitors in the facility.
5. The visit must be in a specific, designated area.
Pickersgill meets criteria 1 above since the outbreak has been closed. Therefore, we can implement indoor visitation as long as we have procedures that are consistent with CMS and MDH guidance. We will follow the same procedures for inside visits that we implemented previously:
1. All visits must be scheduled through the Volunteers department. Please contact Tricia Selko, Volunteer Coordinator, to schedule your visit. The best way to request a visit is by email and her email address is: email@example.com. Her direct telephone number is 410-842-0420.
2. Visiting hours will be from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM, 7 days a week. The maximum time for a visit will be one hour and 3 PM will be the last appointment for a visit.
3. All visitors will enter the building through the main entrance on the 2nd floor of the apartments.
4. Each visitor will have their temperature checked and will be screened by completing the COVID-19 questionnaire at the front desk. No one will be allowed in the building if they have a temperature that is greater than or equal to 100 degrees Fahrenheit and/or answers yes to any of the screening questions.
5. Visitors must be wearing a mask at all times and use hand sanitizer before leaving the front lobby.
6. Visitors will wear a visitor badge that will have their name, the date, the appointment time, and who they will be visiting.
7. Social distancing (6 feet apart) should be maintained at all times during the visit, including when visiting the resident.
8. All visits to assisted living and the nursing home will be scheduled in advance and the number of visitors allowed in the building will be limited.
9. Visitors will follow a very specific route to get to their destination. Visitors are not permitted to walk around the building and must proceed directly to the resident’s room.
10. All visits will take place in the resident’s room. Visits will not be supervised. Visitors must keep their face mask on during the visit. The resident should also have their face mask on during the visit.
11. After visiting, the visitor shall return to the front desk, sign out in the log and return the Visitor badge.
If you already have an outside visit scheduled starting on November 16th your outside visit will be honored as an indoor visit, with the exception of the 9:45am visit that will turn into a 10 AM visit and the 3:15 PM visit that will turn into a 3:00 PM visit. All 4 PM outside visits will need to be rescheduled.
Department of Health Guidance as COVID-19 Cases Increase
I am sure you are all aware that Baltimore County and the state have been experiencing an increase in COVID-19 cases and the positivity rate. The positivity rate now exceeds 5% and is continuing to trend upward. This past Tuesday, the Maryland Department of Health issued updated Directives and Advisories to attempt to contain the recent surge in COVID-19 cases. MDH stated on November 10th that, “Marylanders should take all precautions to protect their loved ones at nursing homes or assisted living programs including staying home if sick and getting tested before they visit.” If the positivity rate continues to increase, MDH has stated that each community may implement additional visiting restrictions including requiring that all visitors be tested for COVID-19 before visiting. Currently it is only a strong recommendation that visitors get tested before visiting. However, it is possible, if the number of COVID cases and positivity rate in Baltimore County continues to increase, that this will become mandatory.
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.