June 8, 2020
We have been very busy in the past several days and continue to remain “cautiously optimistic” as we move forward through this time that we will all be relieved to place this period of time in the history books at some point.
As our last message stated, we continue to make daily reports to the Department of Health (DOH) and weekly reports to the CDC. To date, we continue to remain Covid-free. We take all potential symptoms seriously with immediate action steps. We created an isolated Covid-unit approximately a month ago in anticipation of any resident(s) testing positive. We were able to do this since our census had dropped and we had temporarily stopped accepting new admissions. As some of you are aware, we have moved some residents into that unit and tested them and gratefully, have moved them back to their rooms with negative test results. There have been some staff that have also been tested, but so far, all have returned with negative results.
With that being said, we are moving closer to the decision of universal testing. We receive directives almost daily from the DOH and CDC regarding their requirements as we move forward and it’s obvious that universal testing is at the center of the reopening phase. There are two strategies that are used; test-based and symptom-based. We have been adhering to the symptom-based strategy because for some time, we did not have access to mass-testing supplies and there was no clear indication of how this would be funded. We have now been able to obtain these necessary supplies and have been assured that with a physicians order, the insurance companies will pay for the tests. It is evident that the test-based strategy will be used by the regulators in moving forward until an appropriate vaccine is safely released.
We are hoping to proceed with this testing plan within the next week or two. We are awaiting confirmation that the lab can provide a turnaround of results within 48 hours or less. Once prepared, we will choose a testing date, notify all responsible parties of residents and notify all staff of that date. Testing will begin at 7:00 am and will proceed throughout the day until we can test as many residents and staff as possible on the same day. Those tests will then be sent out to await results. If there are positive results returned, action will be immediately taken. Positive residents will be separated from negative residents and placed in the Covid-unit where they will remain for 10-14 days. Staff will require the same approach, but will self-quarantine at home. This testing process is expected to be done weekly until all staff and residents test negative. Should anyone develop symptoms and test positive, the cycle will begin again.
Most of the surrounding facilities in our community have already completed this process but it was secondary to positive cases being in their facilities. We are well-aware of the possibility of asymptomatic-positive results within both populations, but it is also why we are remaining positive through this process. We are also entering a yellow-phase today within our county. With the quieting of the viral spread around us, it also gives us confidence of the outcome of this testing.
With all that being said, we will address the issues as they arise and we will continue to communicate with you as we always have. Should anyone test positive, you will be notified. One very important factor that you must be aware of and prepared for; should your loved one test positive, they will be moved into the Covid unit. If we have more positive outcomes than we expect, it will be necessary to temporarily move residents around to accommodate those positive residents in a secure, isolated area. Please be prepared to cooperate with these temporary moves to ensure the safety and well-being of the entire community.
We were also notified this week from the DOH that there will be a 28-day extension to the restrictions in Nursing facilities once a county moves into the green phase. This is disheartening to all of us, but once more, a reminder that we are all committed to the safety of our residents and that they are the most vulnerable in all of this. We are proud of “us”, We are proud of our staff; We are proud that we are members of this Newtown community continue to support us; and We are proud to be blessed with families like you that have become our own families and who care about us as you do your own.
Also, as most of you know, we suffered a power outage on Wednesday due to multiple trees/limbs coming down onto power lines behind our property. Due to the work of community police, fire and their contacts, we were able to be escalated as a priority. Power was restored to the building within 16 hours and residents were safe throughout with no adverse events occurring during that period.
And lastly, I feel we must address the events of our recent past. We all mourn the tragic death of Mr. George Floyd and we are also aware that we have a lot of work to do to move forward. Pickering Manor takes the stance that we welcome diversity and we welcome the conversations that need to take place among all of us. We are committed to listening. We all need to be prepared to do better.
We appreciate any questions or concerns that you may have about this information provided. We realize it’s a lot to absorb; but as stated from the beginning, “We’ve been a little busy”!!
We continue to be grateful to you for your support....and we will continue to share our ideas and our plans with you.
Chief Executive Officer
Director of Nursing