June 16, 2020
I hope this email finds you well and staying safe. Here is the current COVID-19 status of our residents and staff as of Tuesday, June 16th:
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:
- One assisted living resident tested positive for the virus. She went to the hospital on March 25th and has not returned.
- Before universal testing was conducted, seven residents in both assisted living and the nursing home were tested and their tests were negative for the virus.
- One employee tested positive for the virus and has since recovered.
- Before universal testing was conducted, 16 employees who had symptoms were tested and were negative.
- 399 residents and staff were tested as part of Universal testing and all were negative.
Implementing Outside Visits for Assisted Living Residents
The results of these COVID tests are encouraging and because we do not have any COVID-19 cases we can start allowing outdoor visitation immediately for assisted living residents. The Maryland Department of Health has issued new guidance regarding outside visitors for assisted living residents only. Based on their directive, families and friends can visit with an assisted living resident outside the building. A face covering must be worn while visiting and proper social distancing should be maintained at all times. The Health Department further recommends that there should be no more than 2 visitors at a time per resident per visit.
We recognize that there is pent-up demand for face to face visits and we don’t want to overwhelm the community with visitors, so we have developed a plan to implement visits in an organized and orderly manner. Each family will be given the opportunity to visit one time before we will schedule a second visit. We believe this a fair way to start this program. Outside visits will be scheduled for specific days and times and will be located just outside the third-floor assisted living dining room. We have set up a tent that will be used for the visit. You will need to be screened and you can do that at the assisted living dining room visit location. However, you should not visit if you are ill or have a fever. Tricia Selko, our volunteer coordinator, is scheduling and coordinating the visits. Please email her at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to schedule a time to visit with a resident.
Implementing Family Visiting for Nursing Home Residents
Nursing Home residents are still not allowed to have outside visitation. But we have started inside/outside family visiting today for nursing home residents. As I mentioned in my communication last week, you can visit with a nursing home resident through a window in the 3rd floor assisted living dining room. Tricia Selko is coordinating and scheduling these visits. Please email her if you would like to schedule a time to visit with a resident.
Continuation of Restrictions
We are continuing the current restrictions about visitors in the building. Visitors are not allowed in the building. Gina and Vici participate in a weekly conference call with the Maryland Dept. of Health. As the State and County evaluate how and when to loosen up the restrictions, the Health Department is also continuing to evaluate whether they can loosen restrictions on nursing homes and assisted living communities. Allowing outside visitation is an example of that. This is encouraging and another welcome step towards restoring a normal routine for residents.
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. 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.
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 have started posting this same information on our web site, 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. Thank you.