COVID-19 - December 18, 2020

Published on December 18, 2020

Dear Friends,

As I mentioned last week and despite our best efforts, Givens Estates Health Center (GEHC) began a COVID-19 outbreak on Wednesday 12/9/2020. As the week has worn on, this outbreak has increased. We currently have, in Givens Estates Health Center, 29 residents and 27 team members that are COVID positive and many are symptomatic. I am sad to report that one resident in GEHC and one resident in Independent Living that contracted the virus passed away this week. I ask that you please keep these residents and their families in your thoughts and prayers.

With many team members out sick, the team at GEHC is doing a remarkable job working to care for the residents. The GEHC team members are true heroes by picking up extra shifts and performing tasks not normally part of their jobs. I am exceedingly proud of our colleagues in GEHC and campus wide during this difficult time! Their commitment to the residents and each other is admirable. Please keep these team members in your thoughts and prayers. 

Our COVID numbers for GEHC and WAL are tracked by the NCDHHS on their website, and can be viewed by going to

This link is updated on Tuesday and Friday by 4:00pm.

The number of reported daily cases locally and across our State continue to increase at an alarming rate. The percent of tests that are positive for our State has increased to between 11% to 12% over the past 5 consecutive days. In Buncombe County our test positivity rate has increased from 5.4% to 7.1% in a week. The increase in the number of cases per 100,000 residents has increased from 407 per 100,000 residents last week to 574 per 100,000 residents this week.  

To lower the risk in our community the CDC recommends residents to not spend time in each other’s individual living spaces and closing most communal areas (dining rooms, wellness center, etc.). Employees and residents should remain at least 6 feet apart and wear masks correctly. Non- essential volunteers and visitors should not visit. ( ). Givens Estates will move back to a no visitors protocol effective Sunday December 19th. In addition, effective Monday, December 21st Housekeeping services will be suspended until further notice. I regret these measures are necessary, but our priority is to protect the health and safety of the resident community.

Please adhere to the following:

Visitors are not permitted effective Sunday December 19th. Only authorized vendors such as delivery services, medical personnel, and caregivers will be allowed entry. Compassion visits with residents can be arranged by contacting a Social Worker. Packages from family and friends may be left at the main entrance for delivery by our staff to your home.
Stay Home and venture out only for essential needs until conditions improve. 
Residents returning home from a hospital stay, Emergency Department visit, and from overnight travels must quarantine for 14 days upon returning home to Givens Estates. Please 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.
During a resident 14-day quarantine you must remain at home and not be in public spaces on campus. If you require support during your quarantine, please contact your social worker for assistance. In consultation with the Buncombe County Health Department, we will not be reducing the number days required for a quarantine.

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. If you are sick or have been exposed to a person that has tested positive for COVID-19 we can perform a test for you in consultation with your personal physician.
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.

A tested, safe and effective vaccine will be available soon to all who want it, but supplies will be limited at first. Independent state and federal public health advisory committees have determined that the best way to fight COVID-19 is to start first with vaccinations for those most at risk, reaching more people as the vaccine supply increases from January to June. You can learn more about the vaccine process at: 

As outlined by the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services residents and employees in GEHC and WAL will be given priority access to the vaccine and included in Phase 1a and Independent Living Residents will be included in Phase 2. We are still awaiting to hear from Walgreens Pharmacy for a Point of Contact and a timeline. IL residents should not expect access to a vaccine until after the first of the year. As we learn more, we will certainly let you know.

This is a time for all of us to continue to be careful like no other time during the past nine months. Thank you for being adaptive, understanding and in prayer for those who are being affected very personally by the Coronavirus, as well as for our entire Givens Estates family as we travel this path together. Thank you for your understanding.


John C. Cowan, Jr.
Executive Director