November 20, 2020 Letter
Dear Residents, Employees, Family Members, Legal Representatives and Health Care Providers:
All counties in all states where we have a nursing home or assisted living facility continue to be designated “red” for COVID positivity rates. With this week’s update, the highest county positivity rate is once again, Silver Bow County in Montana at 25.7%. Our Wisconsin counties range between 15.6% to 19.0%, followed by Indiana counties falling between 10.7% and 17.9%.
The following paragraphs are a reiteration of last week’s COVID update for those who may have missed it:
Thanksgiving, unfortunately, is coinciding with significant increases in community spread of COVID. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”) has recently reported that an important component of recent case increases is due to small family gatherings. It recommends that individuals at increased risk of severe illness from COVID should avoid in-person gatherings with individuals with whom they do not live.
Because most individuals living in our nursing homes or assisted living facilities fall into the category of increased risk, it is strongly recommended that families do not take persons who reside in long-term care or assisted living facilities to their homes or to gatherings for holiday events. However, this recommendation does not apply to residents who have been diagnosed and recovered from COVID in the past 90 days.
Instead of holiday gatherings in your home, we recommend visiting with loved ones through Skype or FaceTime calls or window visits. Outdoor visitation is still permitted in red counties, but this becomes a less desirable option as the outdoor temperatures drop and there is snow to contend with. Indoor visits are limited to only compassionate care or end-of-life visits at this time at all locations.
If you are still planning on taking your loved one home for the holidays, there are things you can do to lower the risk of COVID transmission:
- Decrease your own exposures by avoiding indoor settings with people you don’t live with where you cannot socially distance and wear a mask for at least 2 weeks before Thanksgiving (e.g. indoor social events, bars, restaurants, carpooling).
- Wear a mask at all times when you are in indoor locations outside of your house or events where you cannot socially distance from others. Always keep a mask on when any high-risk individuals are in your presence – whether in a car or inside your home.
- Wash your hands and use alcohol-based hand sanitizer and ask those coming into your house to do the same.
- Physically distance as much as possible, at least 6 feet from others outside your household.
- Screen anyone entering your house for symptoms and do not allow any symptomatic guests into your home.
- Clean high-touch surfaces (e.g. tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, sinks, etc.) in your home with an approved COVID cleaning solution.
- Make environmental changes to decrease the possibility of indoor spread of COVID including cracking windows or use of room HEPA filters.
Upon your loved one’s return to the facility, please know that all individuals who leave the facility for these types of visits will be placed in quarantine for 14 days when returning. If they live in a private apartment or room this means they would be separated from others in the facility for 14 days upon return. If they have a roommate, they might not be able to return to their own room for 14 days upon return. Rather, they would be moved to an observation/isolation room, if one is available, for 14 days to ensure they do not develop symptoms of COVID.
If an observation/isolation room is not available, your loved one may not be able to return to the facility until a room is available. Prior to taking your loved one out of the facility for Thanksgiving, please contact the facility administrator to make sure that an observation/isolation room would be available on their return. If one is not available, you may be required to keep and care for your loved one until a room is available.
If you have any questions, comments or concerns, please feel free to contact the facility administrator or myself at email@example.com. We would like to wish all of you a safe and wonderful Thanksgiving holiday.
Dr. Shellie M. Sonnentag, DNP, AGPCNP-C, CD
Vice President of Clinical Services
Real Property Health Facilities Corp.
435 Village Walk Lane Suite B
Johnson Creek, WI 53038