COVID-19 - August 27, 2021

Published on August 27, 2021

August 27, 2021

Dear Friends,

Thank you for your continued cooperation and patience as we work to navigate the current increase in COVID activity related to the more contagious Delta variant of the virus. The positivity rate for Buncombe County is currently 9.8% with the number of new daily cases growing. In our State, the positivity rate is currently 13% with increasing cases and hospitalizations.

Last week Buncombe County implemented a mask mandate for vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals when in public spaces indoors in response to the significant increase in COVID cases in our area. Givens Estates requires everyone to wear a mask when in public spaces, when participating in programs and activities, and in the dining rooms when not seated at a table. Everyone must remain vigilant in following the other COVID prevention measures which include maintaining physical distance between yourself and others of at least 6 feet, practicing good hand hygiene, staying home when sick and getting your vaccine.

Givens Estates continues to have high vaccination rates among residents and team members.  Resident vaccination rates remain strong at 98% for independent living, 100% for assisted living and 95% for health care. Currently, more than 80% of our team members have received at least one dose of the vaccine, with 77% being fully vaccinated. These rates compare well to the 59% statewide vaccination rate for the general population.

Fortunately, we have not had any residents ill with COVID since January 2021. We are seeing increased cases among team members over the past four weeks that are vaccinated (4 positive cases) and unvaccinated (2 positive cases). Remember that vaccinated individuals can still contract the virus, become ill and spread the virus. Everyone whether vaccinated or not should continue to follow the prevention measures to help slow the spread.

Givens Estates has many mitigation measures in place to help reduce the spread of the virus including:

  • Daily screening of all team members, contractors, and visitors for symptoms of COVID.
  • Routine 1-2 times per week testing of unvaccinated team members that work in health services.
  • Testing of residents and team members across campus due to exposure or symptoms. If you develop any symptoms or suspect you have been exposed, please immediately self-isolate at home and telephone your social worker or the campus nurse for help with testing.
  • Easy access to COVID vaccines for team members and residents on campus which provides significant protection from serious illnesses and hospitalizations. Givens Estates has access to the Moderna and Janssen vaccines.

Indoor visitation in Wood Assisted Living is still suspended for a minimum of two more weeks as we test all residents and team members. Residents and team members that do not live or work in WAL must not visit or use the third and fourth floor WAL corridors to access other parts of Asbury Commons.

Each resident must determine the level of activity and interpersonal interaction with others they are comfortable with.  Givens Estates is striving to take appropriate actions to limit the spread of the virus while continuing to provide services and programs and safely welcome residents visitors. We will continue to adjust as conditions on campus require. Remember that you can request a carryout meal from dining, go to another room in your home when housekeeping or maintenance are providing services, limit off campus travel, etc. to limit potential exposure to others with the virus.

I have received many questions about the availability of COVID booster vaccines on campus. We are working with Blue Ridge Pharmacy, our current pharmacy services provider, to make the booster shots available on campus to team members and residents once guidelines are issued by the CDC, FDA, State and Federal agencies. We cannot provide booster vaccines until these guidelines have been issued. I anticipate that both flu and COVID booster vaccines will be available in October and will provide more details when we have them. Only guidelines for immunocompromised individuals have been issued for a third dose of the same vaccine originally received. Please contact your physician to see if you may need a third dose of the vaccine due to an immunodeficiency.

Navigating this pandemic continues to be a challenge and I appreciate your kindness and patience as we adapt to changing conditions. Please let me or my colleagues know of any questions or needs that we can assist you with.

Sincerely,

John C. Cowan, Jr.

Executive Director

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