Since Christmas is Friday I wanted to go ahead and send this brief update early regarding the COVID-19 outbreak in Givens Estates Health Center, pending vaccinations for health center residents and team members and an update on current conditions locally and on campus. We currently have, in Givens Estates Health Center, 30 residents and 23 team members that are COVID positive. We have tested all residents and staff of GEHC and WAL again this week and while we certainly pray there are no new cases, it is probable we will have more.
The conditions of the GEHC residents is mixed. Thankfully, we have had some residents rally and appear to be recovering. Others continue to struggle and sadly another four residents have passed away. Please keep the families in your thoughts and prayers. Some team members have recovered and returned to work.
The number of reported daily cases locally and across our State continue to increase and the percent of tests that are positive for our State has increased to around 11.5%. In Buncombe County our test positivity rate has increased again from 7.1% to 8.8% over the past week.
To lower the risk in our community please do not spend time in each other’s individual living spaces and limit your travel off campus to essential needs. Most exposures to the virus occur while visiting in groups of friends and family. I know everyone wants to be with friends and family for the Holidays but consider deferring gatherings until conditions improve and more people have received vaccinations. Continue to remain at least 6 feet apart and wear masks correctly.
- Visitors are not permitted until further notice and conditions improve. 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.
- Housekeeping services are suspended until further notice when conditions improve.
- 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.
- 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.
Hope is on the horizon. We have scheduled immunization clinics with Walgreens beginning January 2nd, 2021 for health center residents and staff. The vaccine will be available soon to all who want it, but initial supplies are limited. As outlined by the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, residents and staff 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. When we are informed about the availability of the vaccine for independent living residents, I will let you know.
The Givens Estates team appreciates the kind thoughts and outpouring of gratitude from residents and families during this difficult time for our community. Please know of our appreciation for your kind thoughts and encouragement. I hope everyone has a peace filled Christmas.
John C. Cowan, Jr.