Covid-19 Updates

May 19, 2020

Good Evening:

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 19th:

·       There are no residents in either assisted living or the nursing home who have COVID-19 or have respiratory symptoms that would warrant testing.

·       The test result for the nursing employee mentioned in the last update was negative. There are no other staff who have COVID-19 or have respiratory symptoms that would warrant testing.

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 and is no longer in the community.

·       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.

·       Thirteen employees were tested and their tests were negative for the virus.

COVID-19 Testing

As you know Governor Hogan has ordered that each nursing home increase testing of residents and staff for COVID-19. We heard from The National Guard yesterday that the COVID-19 test kits will be delivered to Pickersgill this Friday, May 22, 2020. We were informed that we will be given enough tests for all Pickersgill residents in addition to all staff. This includes assisted living and nursing home residents as well as apartment residents. Testing for all staff as well as assisted living and nursing home residents is mandatory. Testing will be scheduled for next week, between Tuesday, May 26th and Friday, May 29th. We are still working on the actual schedule and the plan for administering the tests. It is our intent that all testing will be complete by the end of next week. It could take up to a week to get the test results.

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. 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 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.

Barry

Barry Eisenberg, FACHE, LNHA 
Executive Director 
Pickersgill Retirement Community 
615 Chestnut Avenue, Towson, MD 21204 
p. 410-825-7423  |  f. 410-821-6275 

beisenberg@pickersgillretirement.org 

Pickersgill’s Response to the Corona Virus

Good Morning:

I am writing today to share with you Pickersgill’s response to the CoronaVirus or COVID-19 outbreak in Maryland. Protecting our residents is our primary concern. Currently, we don’t have any COVID-19 cases in the community. I know that you are following the news about the spread of the disease. Yesterday, the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic. Governor Hogan met with representatives of the senior living and long-term care community on Tuesday to discuss the State of Maryland’s preparation and plans to contain (and now mitigate) Marylanders’ exposure to the virus, particularly for the staff, residents, and families of senior services organizations. Governor Hogan presented his recommendations to the public on Tuesday afternoon. You can watch it by clicking on this link: https://governor.maryland.gov/2020/03/10/governor-hogan-announces-ninth-positive-case-of-covid-19-in-maryland-issues-new-guidance-for-long-term-care-facilities/. At that presentation, he stated that effective immediately, senior living communities should restrict access and visitation. This was supported by the Federal Government that issued similar and more detailed guidance. We have decided to follow the Federal Government’s and Governor’s recommendations regarding visitor access.

Consequently, out of an abundance of caution and concern for the health and welfare of our residents and given the recommendations of the government, we have decided that visitors will not be allowed into the Pickersgill, whether it is independent living, assisted living or the nursing home. This became effective yesterday afternoon. We recognize that this is a very serious step but feel it is necessary at this time. However, visitors will be allowed when it is absolutely necessary, such as end-of-life situations, and will be determined on a case-by-case basis. All individuals who enter the building will be screened using CDC guidelines.

Despite these restrictions, we still need to operate the community. This means that certain individuals need to be on-site. This includes our staff, pharmacists, medical consultants, vendors and construction workers. Our staff are receiving training regarding COVID-19 so that they are knowledgeable about the signs and symptoms. The other individuals I listed are being screened regularly using CDC criteria.  I realize that this is not a perfect solution but anything we can do to reduce our resident’s exposure to the virus we should do. I recognize that communicating with your family member is very important and we are exploring a variety of ways you could do that in addition to talking with them by telephone since you can’t visit with them.

We are monitoring this developing situation closely and complying with the protocols developed by the Maryland Dept. of Health, the Maryland Office of Health Care Quality (OHCQ), the Federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). This is a very dynamic environment and I will let you know about any changes to these restrictions as soon as I know them. I am asking for your support while we work through this situation. Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any questions.

Barry

Barry Eisenberg, FACHE, LNHA 
Executive Director 
Pickersgill Retirement Community 
615 Chestnut Avenue, Towson, MD 21204 

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