Every day that new scientific research on COVID-19 is released we have the opportunity to better understand and learn more. As good information gives us the power to make the best choices, we are working to stay on top of developments and I have outlined some interesting recent highlights below, along with a general update on our Generations Universe.
Highlights from recent studies:
The one thing that remains clear in all new information is the importance of practicing tried and true infection prevention measures – proper use of personal protective equipment (PPE) such as facemasks, social distancing while outside our homes and in the workplace, and proper and frequent handwashing.
• About the Virus Infection Cycle: A positive person with symptoms is infectious, but that person is also infectious 2.5 days before symptoms, with a peak of infectiousness at 17 hours before symptoms. (And, of course, a positive person with no symptoms at all can be infectious.) It is not clear yet how many days past onset of symptoms is considered safe from being infectious – and this will vary by the individual. (We follow CDC and Health Department guidelines, in consultation with our Clinical Director on a case-by-case basis.)
• About Symptoms: There is a wide spectrum of symptoms, possibly related to variation/subsets in the virus, and a person can go through the entire COVID-19 infection cycle with no symptoms at all/ever. The CDC has just expanded the symptom list to include two (2) items we previously did not include. (Staff/Visitor screening have added ‘repeat shaking with chills’ and ‘headache’ and we continue to add #10 eye redness/redness around eyes/eye pain.) Full list:
3. Shortness of breath
5. Sore throat
7. Muscle pain
8. New loss of taste or smell
9. Repeated shaking with chills
• Can You Get Sick Again? Short answer, yes. You may have not developed sufficient immunity from initial COVID-19. If exposed to the virus again, your set of antibodies/ population of cells with memory may not get revved up effectively enough fast enough.
Highlights from Generations Communities:
Company-wide, we are doing our damnedest to keep our people healthy and happy in a safe environment. At our Montage Heights, Montage Hills, Montage Ridge, and CherryWood Village communities we have some positive staff, all following protocol self-isolating at home and checking in with health updates as they recover. Some recovered staff have slowly worked their way back to good health and through their quarantine windows, as appropriate to their individual case and medical recommendation, returning to join our onsite healthcare heroes. We could not be more proud of our employee family of coronavirus warriors. One mantra that has sprung up is “keeping it negative!” and the sound of that in the voice of our staff brings a smile every time.
Our residents are also putting in extraordinary efforts toward strategies against this coronavirus, but we do have some cases of COVID-19. At Paradise Village’s Cedars Assisted Living, one positive resident remains offsite for care. At CherryWood Village’s Parkview Memory Care, one resident is quarantined as we seek out options for care offsite. At Montage Heights our two positive residents are offsite as they receive care. At Montage Hills we have four positive residents located on our SNF isolation wing with dedicated staff. At Montage Ridge our last two positive residents have both recovered. There are many ways to receive updates, including on our COVID-19 webpage, but please note that at all campuses leadership have scheduled regular Zoom calls (please reach out if you would like an invitation) and any campus with a positive resident will have those update calls more frequently.
The following are some continued and ongoing actions:
We remain in communication with health officials to ensure we stay in alignment and have been ahead in our practices.
We continue with recommended and best practice infection control procedures, internal teams have enhanced regiments of disinfection, and we continue to refresh protocol training, such as PPE procedure and hand hygiene.
In the event of a potential exposure on campus, our initial response strategy, to be done with thoroughness and care, includes immediately investigating facts; meeting with leadership to ensure accurate information and consistency of response; contacting those/the families of those possibly exposed and ensuring appropriate actions and monitoring; meeting with our entire staff family to share facts, answer questions, reinforce infection control protocol, and discuss any additional measures to be taken; and communicating with our entire resident family and their families to share facts, response strategies, and invite questions.
We continue to monitor residents in care daily, keeping a sharp and educated eye out for all symptoms and changes in behavior or condition.
Though not needed for symptoms, we have a universal requirement of facemasks for all staff and visitors and asking essential visitors to provide their own where at all possible. We are inviting volunteers with sewing skills to support this inventory. Anyone interested is welcome to reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.
We continue to screen everyone who enters.
We continue to not permit visitors at this time (with end of life exceptions) and invite engagement by facetime, phone, family connection window stations, etc. Our team can assist!
We are maintaining important critical emergency supplies and are to sustain them.
Our Vitality teams continue to focus on engaging our residents to limit physical contact, encouraging engagement from within resident apartments. As social distancing policy continues, group activities remain suspended, but hallway activities from doorways continue. Memory care teams focus on lots of one on one time.
We are assigning duties to limit staff to specific areas of the community (“cohorting”) to reduce levels of campus-wide interaction.
We have prepared for the potential of sheltering staff who wish it, to limit potential of their being exposed to coronavirus in public, off-duty, or at home, or to better support their team.
We are actively hiring to ensure a good back up so only healthy staff are serving.
We have taken steps to cherish our employees through the unique needs of this challenge, providing free shift meals, strategizing childcare, getting creative with our hours, and ensuring a full complement of leadership all days of the week.
Members of our Generations Home Office are phoning-a-friend, working through our resident phonebook, just to check in, see how they are doing, and what we can do to facilitate connections with loved ones.
We continue to manage drop off locations for online orders/delivery, using the main campus entrance address and ensuring internal transfer to residents.
There was a quote shared with me recently, “Real miracles happen when you stop trying to avoid your present.” I love the hope infused in this recognition that when we have clear eyes for our reality, we are able to take clear action that makes all the difference. Thank you to our healthcare heroes, our employees, for reorganizing everything you do to make our mission work in an environment of enhanced, restrictive measures. Thank you to our residents that are holding fast to endure self-isolation and social distancing policies, knowing that we struggle now together so that when we gather again, no one is missing. Thank you to our resident families undergoing the heavy weight of worry for loved ones and sacrificing precious in-person togetherness. We are all working for the little miracles to build a better present, a little at a time.
Thank you for standing with us.
All my best,
Melody Gabriel, CEO