Coronavirus/COVID-19 Updates and Preventative Measures - Updated 8/21/2020
It's important to keep in mind as COVID-19 first become known, we knew that our residents were going to be highly vulnerable to the virus and most at risk if they were infected.
Since March, we have implemented aggressive proactive infection control measures and screening procedures that have helped us mitigate this virus in our setting. We continue to follow the recommended guidance from the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention and Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, and the Minnesota Department of Health, and taking all appropriate measures and doing everything possible to protect the health and wellness of all who live and work here.
As we prepare our community to re-open for outside visitors and increased social activities, please know there are several key factors we need to evaluate and requirements that we must meet before we can open our doors and welcome you back again. This includes ensuring adequate personal protective equipment and staffing, a testing plan, diligent infection control practices that includes facemasks and social distancing for all staff, residents, and visitors, and the status of COVID-19 in our building, our community and our county.
Easing visitation restrictions does come with risks that we will do our best to mitigate. We will continue our diligent infection control practices to ensure the safety of our staff and residents. Please note that all visitors, volunteers, and vendors will be held to the same standards and expectations of those who live and work here.
The guidance from the Minnesota Department of Health addresses reopening recommendations, but also advises us on when visitation may once again be restricted based on virus transmission in our setting and the broader community.
We are taking all the necessary and required measures to protect our residents and staff while we provide a safe space for socialization and visitation. We will follow the MDH recommended guidelines for re-opening for visitation, which includes screening, PPE, staffing levels, and, where it may apply, testing among other considerations. We will also rely on our infection control protocols that have helped us effectively respond to COVID-19 adequately and rapidly respond to changing conditions.
- Please be patient as we roll out this next phase in modifying our visitation policy. We need time to ensure we have the procedures and protocols in place to best protect everyone who lives, work and visits our setting.
- We also need to recognize that this virus is still spreading throughout our state and that we may need to restrict visitation again if we experience positive cases of COVID-19 in our setting or identify a broader risk of exposure both in our setting and/or the broader community.
The Center for Medicaid/Medicare Services (CMS) has now required an ongoing testing plan for all long-term care nursing facilities to test all staff. This could mean weekly testing if there is a 5-10% county positivity rate. If the positivity rate in the county is above 10% this could mean twice a week testing. If the positivity rate is below 5% then the facility should test once a month. Greenwood Connections created a testing plan beginning August 11th to test all staff monthly and modified the testing plan to meet the September 2nd CMS guidelines. We currently have ZERO active cases of COVID-19 and we have had over 28 days without a positive case of COVID-19 in our senior living community. We will continue to test all residents and staff who are symptomatic and then test according to our testing plan for all staff.
You have been notified previously of the changes in our regular operations as part of our response plan. We will continue to follow these infection control guidelines.
- Outdoor and Essential Caregiver Visits: We continue to follow CDC issued guidance for the restriction of visitors. We began outdoor visits on June 26 th . Tuesdays and Fridays 2-5 PM and Saturday and Sunday 10-11 AM and 1-4 PM. We would also like to remind you about video visits and we allow open window visits as long as the resident and visitor are wearing masks and 6 feet apart or you keep the window closed using a phone. Please contact us to set up an outdoor or a window visit. We will continually be evaluating outdoor visits as we work though the next few weeks. We will let you know of any changes.
- Implementing enhanced infection control measures: Currently, we are allowing communal dining and group activities.
- Isolating residents who have tested positive: We have set up a separate isolation area in our building to treat residents who do test positive for COVID-19 and for those who test positive we will assign a dedicated staff team to that unit to limit potential spread of the virus in our setting.
- Monitoring and screening residents: We have been screening all residents twice a day for the past 5 months. This has helped us to identify quickly when we see any changes or symptoms.
- Continuing to screen staff prior to beginning work and upon leaving: Staff are not allowed in the building if they are ill. Screening includes temp checks and symptoms check prior to allowing the staff to work. Any staff who exhibit symptoms are instructed to self-quarantine at home.