I am writing to you a week early as a result of increasing COVID-19 activity on the Givens Estates campus, in Buncombe County and across our State. Unfortunately, these increases were anticipated as a result of Thanksgiving Holiday gatherings and other situations where people are not adhering to the precautions that help prevent the spread of the virus. Most exposures are a result of people getting together with family and friends indoors in a social setting. Since the virus is widespread in our community at large you should assume that everyone outside of your home is positive for the virus, delay having visitors and adhere to the 3 W’s.
As you may be aware, Governor Cooper has announced modified Stay at Home Orders that go into effect today because of serious increases in the spread of COVID-19 across our State (https://governor.nc.gov/news/key-metrics-increasing-rapidly-north-carolina-begin-modified-stay-home-order-slow-covid-). The Order requires people to stay at home between 10 pm and 5 am and takes effect Friday, December 11 and will be in place until at least January 8, 2021. The number of reported daily cases locally and across our State on average have more than doubled from a month ago. The percent of tests that are positive for our State has increased to more than 10% each day. In Buncombe County our test positivity rate has also doubled to 5.5% with a significant increase in the number of cases per 100,000 residents increasing to 407 residents.
Givens Estates is impacted by what is occurring in the larger community and when there is an increase in the spread of the virus in our County we will see corresponding increases in team members and residents positive for the virus and directly exposed to someone positive for the virus. I have added to the chart below the number of individuals that are currently under investigation and quarantining as a result of an exposure to someone positive for the virus, recent travel out of our area or as a result of other activity that is considered high risk for exposure. At present, Givens Estates is experiencing significantly more activity campus wide and Givens Estates Health Center and Wood Assisted Living are experiencing outbreaks of the virus. We are conducting weekly testing in both areas until we have no new cases for a period of 14 days.
Givens Estates currently has fourteen team members, eight GEHC residents and one independent living resident positive with the virus. We have a significant increase in the number of people under investigation (PUI) for the virus due to possible exposure.
Please adhere to the following:
Please Stay Home and venture out only for essential needs until conditions improve.
Please delay welcoming visitors into your homes until conditions improve. The visitor logs show that the number of visitors has increased over the past month and continues to increase. Residents should self-limit/defer visits so that we do not have to reinstitute visitor restrictions. If you feel compelled to have guests, then you should significantly limit the number of people as well as the frequency and duration of visits. Visitors are only allowed in your private residence and not in indoor or outdoor public spaces.
During a resident 14-day quarantine you should remain at home and not be in public spaces on campus or off campus. If you require support during your quarantine, please contact your social worker for assistance. On the recommendation of the Buncombe County Health Department, we will not be reducing the number of days required for a quarantine.
As a result of the current conditions overnight guests are not permitted. We have suspended all overnight stays in homes on campus since this carries the highest risk of exposure to the virus as demonstrated by resident exposures that have been identified since Thanksgiving.
It is recommended that residents not leave campus for overnight. Travel outside Asheville and within the Asheville area with overnight stays will require a resident quarantine upon return to Givens Estates for 14 days. If you must travel with an overnight stay contact your Social Worker before leaving and upon returning to campus. Travel to a vacation home where there is no outside social interaction will probably not require self-quarantine upon return.
Continue to take precautions to reduce your risk of acquiring the COVID-19 virus:
If you are sick, being tested for COVID-19, have been in direct contact with someone being tested or think you have been exposed to someone infected with the virus, please stay home, follow up with your doctor, and notify Givens Estates (Social Worker or Campus Nurse) by telephone for specific directions regarding your situation.
Wear a mask covering your nose and mouth in public or if others enter your home; wash your hands with sanitizer at least 65% alcohol-based or with soap and water for 20 seconds and physically distance at least 6 feet from others. Make sure when you visit with family and friends in your home everyone follows these precautionary measures.
If the number of Givens Estates residents and team members with COVID-19 continues to increase, the percent of tests positive rate continues to increase locally, and/or local, state or other governmental mandates are enacted, we may return to the more restrictive measures that we enacted earlier this year to protect the health of residents and team members.
John C. Cowan, Jr.