July 1, 2020
Residents, Families and Partners,
I am sure many of you are aware of the significant increase in positive cases in Arizona. In our previous communication, we made you aware of a newly positive employee. We now have a second staff member who has tested positive for COVID-19. As with the employee we previously updated you about, the employee has been out of the building for over a week and only recently received test results and communicated them to us.
We also now have two residents who has tested positive for COVID-19. One resident was sent out of the facility for non-COVID related reasons and was tested at the request of the resident’s family. However, as the test received was a rapid test which has been shown to have a high percentage of false positives, the resident is being re-tested and is on isolation pending the results. The second resident is currently receiving treatment outside of the facility.
We have identified several residents that are currently being isolated from other residents who have shown symptoms, have been tested and waiting on results to return. Families of these residents have already been contacted.
As always, we continue to observe all residents for any signs and symptoms and will notify residents’ primary physicians and designated family members of any changes in their loved one’s condition, whether potentially related to COVID-19 or not.
We would ask that families contact our Wellness Director, Tristess, or the resident’s Primary Care Physician if you think your loved one needs to be tested or if you have noticed any changes in your loved ones. The way COVID presents is different for everyone and constantly changing, adding more things for us to be looking for. This way, we can have the resident tested in-house if they have no immediate, hospital need. It will limit the resident’s exposure to the virus at an off-site provider. We can also ensure the testing used is a proven, reliable method. If we know a resident needs to be sent out we can work with non-Emergency Transport as well as 911 to determine what hospital and best options.
We would also ask you to assist us in encouraging residents to stay in the community and when outside of their rooms to wear masks, practice good social distancing and frequently wash/sanitize their hands. We have hand sanitizer everywhere for the community to use. We can provide masks available to residents upon request. Most of Assisted Living residents have masks but if they lose one, have them see Tristess or Mary at the front desk.
Given these new positive cases, certain precautions will be put back in place, modified or remain in place. This includes:
- Continue in-room only dining and suspension of external and internal group resident activities;
- Windows visits will continue, but any resident that has tested positive or has been designated as a suspected positive and under observation until testing can be done will not be allowed to go to the designated window visit area for such a visit. Those residents in isolation will be assisted to have virtual visits with their friends and loved ones;
- Restricted visitation will continue; you will receive written notification in advance of us opening back up. We have a plan outlined but we are nowhere near ready to execute these plans.
- All other heightened infection control measures remain in place (use of PPE, more frequent cleanings of high touch surfaces, assessment of all staff upon entry into building, etc.).
- Tristess and I continue to learn daily and remain up to date from the CDC, CMS and DHS on best practices. We will continue to follow the expert’s leads.
As the continued quarantine is extended for senior living facilities, we are always looking for new and creative ways for our residents to safely connect with others outside of the facility and low exposure risk fun activities. If you are aware of groups that may want to become pen pals with our residents, or have other ideas, please contact us.
We are so grateful for our attentive staff that continue to provide excellent service for our residents. We know that many of them may have their own concerns for the health and safety of their families as this surge in positive cases is happening in our state, but they continue to prove themselves to be the heroes we know that they are.
Please be patient as we face this ever changing challenge, work to rapidly adapt as the health expert guidance evolves as new things are learned about the virus, and as the circumstances in the Phoenix area and the state in general continue to alter. As always, please reach out with questions, concerns, or requests for assistance. If you have an immediate concern, please email Tristess or myself our phone lines are often busy, especially after hours and on weekends as that seems to be when all 92 resident’s family members call. We will continue to keep you updated as additional information becomes available. Thank you for your continued support and the trust you have given us to provide care for you or your loved ones.
Carolyn Lynch, Executive Director