October 16, 2020
I am pleased to provide good news in this update. We received the results for substantially all the staff who were tested on October 12th and 13th. All staff for whom we received results are negative for COVID-19. The results for 3 staff are pending.No residents were tested this week. No assisted living or the nursing home residents have any COVID-19 related symptoms and no one has COVID-19. We have been COVID-19 free for the last 6 weeks.
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. Since we are testing staff weekly and testing residents when warranted, 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.
- Eight staff tested positive for the virus.
On October 1, the Maryland Department of Health issued new guidance stating that assisted living communities with more than 50 beds and nursing homes are required to test all staff at least monthly if the Baltimore County positivity rate is equal to or less than 5%. Baltimore County’s positivity rate as of last week was 4%. So, the next time we have to test the staff will be November 9th. This is our current plan. However, this can change depending on the county positivity rate or if we have a positive case. If the county positivity rate rises above 5%, we will need to start weekly testing of staff again. If the county positivity rate is over 10%, we will need to test staff twice a week. County positivity rates are calculated by the CDC and released every 2 weeks. Testing frequency can also change if we have a positive case among our residents or staff. Then we will start weekly testing again until there are no positive results for at least 14 days from the last positive results.
While our plan is to test at least monthly, this can change every 2 weeks or if we have a positive case. If we have a positive case we will have to stop inside visits, communal dining and group activities. It would be unfortunate for the community if we have to return to these restrictions. That is why it is so important that you continue to follow the infection control practices that we are asking you to do when you are visiting. This includes getting your temperature taken and answering the CDC symptoms checklist and not entering the building if you have any of the signs or symptoms of COVID-19, including a fever, or are ill. In addition, when you are in the building, making sure you are wearing a face mask, practicing social distancing, washing your hands regularly and following our visiting guidelines. Tricia Selko has told me that the families and friends who have been visiting are being very cooperative and following our infection control requirements and visiting guidelines. Thank you for following our guidelines.
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 have taken in the past have ended as we have started to relax restrictions. However, we will re-institute these strict restrictions if we have an outbreak. 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 visitors, healthcare staff and all employees who enter the building according to CDC guidelines; this includes taking their temperature upon entry and denying entry of those with the 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.