October 2, 2020
I am pleased to provide good news in this update. We received the results from the September 28th and 29th testing for substantially all staff. All staff for whom we received results are negative. The results for ten staff are pending.
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.
Relaxation of Restrictions – Implementing Inside Visitation
I am sure by now you are aware that on October 1st Governor Hogan announced that effective immediately, indoor visitation in nursing homes and assisted living communities may resume and that communities should follow the federal Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) guidance. The Maryland Department of Health (MDH) issued, last evening, specific guidance on how nursing homes and assisted living communities are to implement this new policy. 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%.
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. We have not had a positive case in more than 14 days and Baltimore County’s positivity rate is 2.7%. Therefore, we can implement indoor visitation as long as we have procedures that are consistent with CMS and MDH guidance. What follows are the procedures we will be implementing starting tomorrow, Saturday, October 3rd :
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 of 100 degrees Fahrenheit or higher and/or answer 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.
We appreciate your cooperation with these steps that we feel are necessary to meet the CMS and MDH guidance. It is important for you to be aware that all indoor visitation will stop if we have one positive COVID-19 case among both residents or staff. That is considered to be an outbreak. We believe that if you follow our visitation plan it will reduce the risk of an outbreak. In the event of an outbreak visitation will revert to outside again.
There are two additional areas where restrictions have been relaxed. MDH has stated that families can take their family member out to an essential medical appointment. If you plan on doing that please let Cindy Feehley, our unit secretary, know in advance so she can make sure that the resident has the required information for the visit. In addition, we intend to open the Beauty Salon next Wednesday, October 7th .
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. We continue to encourage our residents to wear face masks when they are not in their room and practice social distancing. We are checking all assisted living and nursing home residents’ temperature and oxygen levels daily. We screen daily 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.
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. 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 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.