Update from Administrator – May 14, 2020
Since this pandemic began, the state of Connecticut has been constrained due to the limited availability of test kits and supplies necessary to test all our residents. However, the state is now at a point where supplies and testing capabilities have become available. This means that testing for all nursing home residents can now begin. The DPH (Department of Public Health) and the National Guard will be working with all nursing homes to test every resident both symptomatic and asymptomatic. We will notify you when the testing has been scheduled for our building.
Once tested, our residents will continue to cohort (the act of grouping together people with like symptoms or diagnosis) appropriately within the building. Please know that both the resident and their responsible party will be notified prior to the room change. This is a necessary step in the process to protect our resident’s health. Residents who refuse testing will need to cohort with individuals of like status or COVID-19 unknown for 14 days.
Regular testing will continue until such a time that public health officials feel there is no longer a risk. With this level of testing the state will try to identify areas with the most risk that pose the highest level of concern. They will strategically focus their response to assist nursing homes and respond to the needs of their residents appropriately.
In other news, the Governor announced yesterday that restrictions on visitors will remain in place for the foreseeable future. We are looking to facilitate an alternative means of communication for our residents. All the nursing homes in Connecticut have received I-pads from DPH so they can offer more face time and video calls. Also, we will be implementing perimeter visits such as window visits and outdoor social distancing visits. We are working on the logistics and safety guidelines for these and will let you know as soon as they are in place.
There is a new CMS (Center for Medicare & Medicaid Service) requirement for all nursing facilities to inform residents and their representatives of either a single confirmed COVID-19 infection, or 3 or more residents or staff with new-onset respiratory symptoms occurring within 72 hours of each other. We will be sending emails with these notifications at least weekly or by 5:00 pm the next calendar day following the subsequent occurrence of either. Although it is not required, we will also include updated numbers of our recovered patients.
We will be resuming our “Town Hall” meetings next week. However, due to the large number of questions on our last call, and the limited amount of time we are allotted on our Zoom account, we are asking everyone to email us their questions in advance to firstname.lastname@example.org. This way we can address similar questions at one time and refer to resident specific questions outside the call. Also, please send in suggestions on any topic you would like us to cover in future meetings. If we have additional time, you will be able to ask questions through the Zoom “chat” feature related to the weekly topic being covered. To do this, go to the right of the page and look for the “chat” feature. Simply type in the question and press send.
We would like to thank and recognize our dedicated front-line staff who continue to work tirelessly to care for the residents in our building. Thanks to them, and the advanced procedures and guidelines from CDC (Center for Disease Control) and DPH, we are thrilled to announce that we have 27 residents who are COVID-19 recovered according to CDC and DPH guidelines. Our current numbers are 9 residents and 3 employees who are COVID-19 positive.
We understand that this is a lot of information to process and we will do our absolute best to keep you fully informed as we proceed with the state’s testing’s and regulations. As always, we appreciate your patience and understanding.