Dear Residents, Family Members and & Staff,
Welcome to the July COVID update.
Fortunately our facility’s impact of COVID-19 has been minimal and we are still operating with no new cases of COVID-19. We would like to sit back and enjoy the laurels and praise we have earned but we cannot. Everyone clearly is worried about the “next season” of the pandemic or when the States open up completely – what will that do to our residents? The next season looks likely to be worse as it is predicted to come at the same time our resident population starts to see effects of the seasonal flu and the symptoms are so similar.
All of us have a responsibility to ourselves, to our family, to our residents, to our community in a prevention program of a resurgence:
- Our facility has doubled down on our infection control work. Training and retraining on 4 main topics:
- Isolation Practices
- Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) – what / where / how / how to get more
- Effective Cleaning Products
- Social Distancing
- Among other topics
- Reminding employees and anyone entering the facility, if you are sick, you cannot come to the facility and potentially infect others – whether it is Flu or COVID-19.
- Wear PPE – mask up whether it at the grocery store, the Walmart or at a family gathering. So often we are now reading stories someone went to a BBQ, Birthday Party, a Bar and didn’t wear a mask, didn’t social distance and later got a call someone at these functions were infected and didn’t know at the time.
A note about PPE – there are some News stories out there about health care entities (hospitals and nursing homes alike) having / or had shortages of PPE. Since the beginning we have had enough PPE in our facility to keep our residents and staff safe. We have worked with multiple agencies: FEMA, the County, the State, our regular source for these items, as well as even our Consultant Company has a back-up supply of all PPE. IF we were ever running short (less than a week supply) the consultant company supplied us the next day of a request.
The State is opening up for businesses throughout. We have worked over the past few weeks on developing our policies and procedures to ensuring safe outside visits of our residents and family members based on the State’s guidance. A family member can request a visit by calling the facility. There are restrictions on the days and hours we can accommodate these visits and family members must be health care screened by our staff before the visit.
As always, our residents’ and staffs’ health, safety and wellbeing is our highest priority, and we recognize the uncertainty and concern regarding the rapidly evolving Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19.)
Our facility’s planning and response to COVID-19 continues and has been a multidisciplinary approach and a very coordinated plan following guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), The State Department of Public Health (DPH), and the County Health Departments.
For the three plus months or so and continuing we proactively initiated and implemented increased infection prevention strategies and practices. These activities included:
- Symptom screening of staff and residents.
- Enhanced environmental cleaning and disinfection.
- New visitor restrictions of non-essential visitors have also been restricted to try and close the gap of an infection break in our facility.
- Assessing and ordering additional supplies.
- All communication on change of conditions of residents are communicated to the Power of Attorney for Health Care or residents’ representatives as quickly as we can.
Increase Monitoring of all Residents Continues:
The most significant monitoring tool for this virus are monitoring resident Vital Signs and we are doing these minimally once a shift on stable residents and twice a shift for anyone showing signs or symptoms of this virus.
Again, we thank you for your patience and understanding and it is our hope that with this communication you have a sense of being part of our safety program. Please know that if you have trouble reaching the facility to get an update on your loved one you can call:
The Consultant Compliance Hotline at 877-772-6744.
We have attached a quick summary of things in the next few pages for your information on what all of us can do to help reduce the likelihood of this virus coming into our homes.
The virus that causes COVID-19 is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person, between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet) through respiratory droplets when an infected person coughs or sneezes. The CDC has presented new guidance recently that is NOT likely that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose or possibly their eyes. The broader caution is from being near someone with the virus and spreads through the respiratory droplets.
People with COVID-19 have had a wide range of symptoms reported – ranging from mild symptoms to severe illness. However, keep in mind the CDC reports some people can spread the virus without being symptomatic.
Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. People with these symptoms or combinations of symptoms may have COVID-19:
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
Or at least two of these symptoms:
- Repeated shaking with chills
- Muscle pain
- Sore throat
- New loss of taste or smell
Who is at higher risk?
- Older adults
- People who have serious chronic medical conditionslike:
- Heart disease
- Lung disease
We are here for you and together we will make it through this difficult time. We need all residents and staff to pay particular attention to good infection control precautions.
Clean your hands often
- Wash your handsoften with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
- If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry.
- Avoid touchingyour eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
Take steps to protect others
Stay home if you’re sick
- Stay home if you are sick, except to get medical care.
Cover coughs and sneezes
- Cover your mouth and nosewith a tissue when you cough or sneeze or use the inside of your elbow.
- Throw used tissuesin the trash.
- Immediately wash your handswith soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not readily available, clean your hands with a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
Wear a face mask to protect both others and yourself.
Clean and disinfect
- Clean AND disinfect frequently touched surfacesdaily. This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks.
- If surfaces are dirty, clean them:Use detergent or soap and water prior to disinfection.
When to Seek Medical Attention:
If you have any of these emergency warning signs* for COVID-19 get medical attention immediately:
- Trouble breathing
- Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
- New confusion or inability to arouse
- Bluish lips or face
- Persistent high fever
*This list is not all inclusive. Please consult your medical provider for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning to you.