COVID-19 - February 12, 2021

Published on February 12, 2021

February 12, 2021

Dear Friends,

I am pleased to report that approximately 96% of all Independent Living residents have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine and more than 90% have completed both doses during the February 5th vaccination clinic. More than 70% of all team members have now received at least one dose of vaccine which is equally good news. We continue to work with our Pharmacy Provider and independently to arrange for access to vaccine for new residents and team members that join our community after the March vaccination clinics through Walgreens.

We have just been informed that any residents and team members that have not received their first dose of vaccine can start their vaccine at one of the final Walgreens clinics at Givens Estates on February 27, March 1 or March 5.  Individuals receiving their first dose will be responsible for contacting Walgreens directly to schedule their second dose at a local Walgreens pharmacy.  Anyone desiring to receive their first dose of vaccine by participating in one of the final clinics at Givens Estates should contact Christopher Snyder by February 17th to schedule.

We are fortunate to be some of the first individuals with access to the vaccine, but many individuals in Asheville have not received their vaccinations and there are new strains of virus emerging. As a result, everyone should continue to follow all precautions that have been in place for months to continue to fight the virus. We are not back to normal yet and everyone should continue to stay home except for essential needs, wear your mask covering your nose and mouth, maintain physical distance from others of at least 6 feet, practice good hand hygiene and avoid groups. These precautions apply when off campus and on campus with other residents and staff. These requirements will remain in place until the CDC and State and local health experts determine it is safe to discontinue these measures. Please continue to be patient before resuming normal activity to allow for more progress with vaccinations among the general population.

In the table that follows you will note the continued decline in the number of active COVID-19 cases among residents and team members on campus. The outbreak in the Givens Estates Health Center and Wood Assisted Living have ended with no new resident or staff cases campus wide in more than 3 weeks. 

The number of reported daily cases and the total number of hospitalizations locally and across the State have continued to decline. The percent of tests that are positive for our State has decreased from 14.5% to 7.9 % and in Buncombe County our test positivity rate has decreased from 11.0% to 5.5% over the past month.

Givens Estates will begin to slowly and strategically ease restrictions related to the COVID-19 Pandemic.  Vaccinations, the level of COVID-19 activity on campus and in Buncombe County, and guidance from local, State and Federal agencies are all important factors that are being considered as decisions are made regarding services, visitors, overnight travel, etc.  Givens Estates will proceed carefully over the coming months as we work to move back to a more normal community life.

Please note the following changes:

  • Weekly Housekeeping services resume Monday February 15th. Please continue to limit interaction with staff entering your home to provide services, always wear your face covering and maintain at least 6 feet distance from others.
  • Effective Monday, February 15th you may resume having off campus/nonresident visitors in the privacy of your home between the hours of 7:00 am and 6:00 pm. Visitors must stop at the entrance to sign in and be screened. If they arrive before or after these designated visitor arrival times they will be turned away and asked to return during these times. If you have need for an exception to this arrival time requirement, please contact your Social Worker to make other arrangements. Please limit the number of visitors to no more than 4 at a time. Your visitors must remain in your home and not be in public areas around campus. Individuals approved as caregivers and deliveries will continue as usual. The process for visitation in GEHC and WAL is different and requires a scheduled reservation in advance. We are not permitting overnight visitors to campus currently.
  • Effective Monday February 15th, Givens Estates will suspend the 14-day quarantine requirement for independent living residents after a hospitalization or overnight travel. Please continue to adhere to all safety measures when travelling and in the hospital. Please self-monitor your health status for 14 days following either situation and report any COVID-19 symptoms that develop during this period to your physician and your social worker or the Campus Nurse for evaluation and possible testing.

Please remember the following measures:

  • 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.  In any of the above situations you will be required to quarantine in your home.
  • 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.

Please remember that we are still experiencing a Pandemic and it will take time to get back to normal. In the weeks to come, Givens Estates will begin to gradually add more carry out dining options, open portions of the wellness center, and evaluate small group offerings (10 or fewer people) following State and local requirements. Everyone has been remarkably patient during the past year and I appreciate your understanding as we proceed carefully forward. If you have questions or need assistance, please reach out to us.

With appreciation,

John C. Cowan, Jr.

Executive Director