June 9, 2020
I am writing today to give you the weekly update on what is happening at Pickersgill regarding the presence of COVID-19 and our testing results. Here is the current COVID-19 status of our residents and staff as of Tuesday, June 9th:
· A total of 399 COVID-19 tests were administered as part of the Governor’s universal testing initiative. We have received the results for all 399 and they are all negative. This is great news.
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 last week, 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 last week, 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.
Continuation of Restrictions
The results of these COVID tests are encouraging. However, these results are a snapshot in time. It indicates that the actions that Pickersgill has taken to reduce the risk of contracting the disease has been successful. But it does not predict the future. We need to continue our restrictions as long as required by the Health Dept. Thank you for your cooperation with these restrictions.
Gina and Vici participate in a weekly conference call with the Maryland Dept. of Health. At last week’s call, the Health Department nurses repeated that even though the state and Baltimore county have entered Phase 2, the restrictions for visitors in the building are not being relaxed for residents of congregate senior housing. Pickersgill is considered congregate housing so these restrictions still apply to us. They have not given any time frame when this will change. I know these restrictions have been difficult for the residents and you as a family member or POA, but they will have to continue until the Health Dept. loosens up the restrictions. However, with the opening of the Beauty Salon, I feel that we have taken a first step towards restoring a normal routine for the residents.
A number of residents have been able to go outside on one of the patios either alone, with therapy, or with a member of the Activity dept. and enjoy the Spring weather. Family members or friends cannot visit with the resident while they are outside even if they wear a mask and maintain social distancing. We have been informed that a couple of families have not respected the restrictions and this has put the residents and staff at risk. We respectfully ask you not to do this. The Health Dept. has clearly instructed us that we cannot have this type of visiting at this time.
Implementing Family Visiting
A number of you have visited with a resident through a window, but not everyone has a window that will work for this type of visiting. We would like to expand this type of visiting to all families. So, we are going to implement a program starting next Tuesday, June 16th where you can visit with a resident through a window in the 3rd floor assisted living dining room. Tricia Selko, our Volunteer Coordinator, will be coordinating and scheduling these visits. Please email her at email@example.com if you would like to schedule a time to visit with a resident.
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.