December 4, 2020
There continues to be a steady increase in the number of COVID-19 cases in Buncombe County, North Carolina and across our Nation. In North Carolina we continue to see record numbers of people stricken with the COVID-19 virus and increasing hospitalizations. On the Givens Estates Campus, we had our first independent living resident test positive for the virus and a record number of individuals in quarantine because they were directly exposed to someone testing positive for COVID-19. In addition, Wood Assisted Living is in outbreak as a result of three team members testing positive for COVID-19 within the past 14 days. We are now testing weekly in GEHC and WAL. At present no GEHC or WAL residents are positive for the virus. It is imperative that you limit contact with people outside your immediate household and follow all preventative measures.
At present Buncombe County has a 14-day average test positivity rate of 5.3% which is a significant increase over prior weeks. Currently in North Carolina the positivity rate has dramatically risen to 11.4%. Givens Estates currently has three team members and one independent living resident in quarantine with the virus and recovering well.
Please note the following changes and reminders:
- Please Stay Home as much as possible and venture out only for essential needs until conditions begin to improve.
- During a resident quarantine period staff will not enter your home to provide housekeeping, maintenance or other services due to the risk of exposure.
- There is significant risk of exposure to the virus with welcoming visitors into your home and with the current increase in the spread of the virus in our County and State you should limit visitors in your homes. 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.
- As a result of the current conditions you should not have overnight guests. Effective immediately we are suspending 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.
- Travel outside Asheville and within the Asheville area with overnight stays: We strongly recommend you do not leave campus for overnight at the current time; but if you do, it is required you check with your Social Worker before leaving and upon returning to campus. You will be required to quarantine upon return to Givens Estates for 14 days. Travel to a vacation home where there is no outside social interaction will probably not require self-quarantine upon return.
- Givens Estates will continue to limit outdoor programs to 10 people (distancing and face coverings required) and we have suspended all indoor programs until further notice.
- The Social Brew is carryout only due to the Pandemic. Please do not consume food or drink at the tables or in the Lobby area. We regret that we are not able to use the new space as designed for this purpose until it is safe.
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.
As I mentioned in my November 20th letter, Givens Estates has registered with the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control for vaccine distribution to GEHC, WAL and Independent Living residents and employees. We have been contacted by Walgreen’s which indicates they will likely be the vaccine provider for Givens Estates. Attached to this letter is information from Walgreen’s regarding the COVID-19 vaccine for your information. We also learned this week that the CDC has formally recommended prioritization of early access to the vaccine for health care workers and those working and living in long term care settings. As such we are fortunate to have early access to the vaccine which combined with our current efforts should help us more effectively manage the spread of infection, illness and deaths from COVID-19. Please begin thinking about if you will choose to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, review information about the vaccine from reputable sources and discuss with your personal physician if vaccination is appropriate for you. Givens Estates will help bring the vaccine to residents and team members as it is available.
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, campus guidelines may become more restrictive in response. It is possible that we may have to return to the more restrictive measures that we enacted earlier this year to protect the health of residents and team members.
It has been wonderful to see residents and team members enjoying The Social Brew which has been a bright spot for many. I am looking forward to the beginning of regular Social Brew operations beginning next Tuesday. In addition, the Environmental Services Team has been hard at work to resume weekly housekeeping service beginning Monday. The Oxford Commons Renovations are progressing nicely and on schedule for completion in February. I appreciate the hard work of many during this extraordinary time which is making it possible for our community to move forward with enthusiasm at a time where we might have otherwise been consumed by the Pandemic. Givens Estates is blessed with a stellar group of team members and residents which makes all these things possible.
John C. Cowan, Jr.