May 12, 2020
I hope this email finds you healthy and well. I am writing today to give you an update on what is happening at Pickersgill regarding the presence of COVID-19. Here is the current COVID-19 status of our residents and staff as of Tuesday, May 12th:
· There are no assisted living or nursing home residents who have the virus or who have respiratory symptoms that would warrant testing.
· 3 employees had respiratory symptoms that warranted testing; one is in the accounting department; one is in housekeeping and one is a nursing employee. All have been tested. The nursing employee’s results are still pending and she is not at work. The two other employees’ results are negative and they are back at work.
Starting with this email I will also be providing you with a cumulative report of Pickersgill’s experience with the COVID-19 virus since April 1, when we were informed of our first positive resident. Here is our experience with the virus since then, including today’s update:
· One positive assisted living resident. This resident is no longer at Pickersgill.
· Seven residents in both assisted living and the nursing home were tested and their tests were negative for the virus.
· One positive employee.
· Twelve employees were tested and their tests were negative for the virus.
· One employee was tested and the results are still pending.
Mitigating Actions to Prevent or Reduce the Risk
As you know, we have taken many mitigating actions to prevent or reduce the risk of transmission of the virus since the public health emergency was instituted. 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 are checking all assisted living and nursing home residents’ temperature and oxygen levels twice a day. We screen all healthcare staff and all employees who enter the building according to CDC guidelines; this includes taking their temperature upon entry. 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 also asking all residents to wear a face mask when they are not in their room or apartment. In addition, our Nurse Practitioner is now seeing assisted living and nursing home residents only at Pickersgill; she is not going to any other communities. Since she had been going to other communities, she decided, out of an abundance of caution, to be tested even though she was asymptomatic; her test result was negative.
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 Pickersgill from a hospital or other nursing home. However, many symptoms of COVID-19 are also symptoms of other respiratory illnesses. So, testing does not automatically mean that the individual has the disease.
If an assisted living or nursing home resident 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 and they no longer have symptoms.
Testing Residents & Staff
As you know Governor Hogan has ordered that each nursing home increase testing of residents and staff for COVID-19. The Maryland Health Dept. has informed us that all nursing home residents and staff will be tested. Assisted living residents are not included in this round of testing but may be included later. Testing will be coordinated by the Health Dept. through a newly formed Nursing Home Task Force and will be implemented by the Maryland National Guard and Medical Assist or “Strike” teams. The National Guard will coordinate the delivery of test kits and the delivery schedule will be based on each nursing home’s number of COVID-19 cases and geographic location. Nursing homes with the most cases will be tested first. We have spoken with the National Guard and have been told that we will be notified by the National Guard about a week before testing will occur. We have been told that all staff and residents are supposed to be tested on the same day.
Please contact me if you have any questions or concerns. Thank you.
Barry Eisenberg, FACHE, LNHA
Pickersgill Retirement Community