COVID-19 - January 15, 2021

Published on January 15, 2021

January 15, 2021

Dear Friends,

We had great participation by residents in the vaccination clinics offered last week. Approximately 90% of all residents on campus have received their first dose of the vaccine with their second dose scheduled in 28 days. Most IL residents received their first shot on January 8th and have been scheduled for the second dose of vaccine on February 5th. We will send out details about the vaccination clinic closer to the clinic date. Residents that have not yet received their first dose can attend the clinic on February 5th to start their vaccination process. The good progress we are making with vaccinations is a positive during a time when the virus is spreading at an unprecedented rate locally, in our State and Nationally.

The outbreak in the Health Center is ending with only one new resident case over the past week and two new staff cases. We continue to have no residents in WAL test positive and have had a few team members in WAL test positive for the virus. We have several new cases among team members in IL and 2 residents in IL recovering from the virus. The number of exposures is increasing among IL residents and staff as a result of increasing activity in the Asheville area following the Holidays. 

We are testing residents and staff of GEHC and WAL at least weekly and pray that the number of individuals positive for the virus declines with the goal of no new cases.

The number of reported daily cases locally and across our State continue to increase; the total number of hospitalizations locally and across the State have dramatically increased and are stressing hospital resources. The percent of tests that are positive for our State is 14.5% and in Buncombe County our test positivity rate has increased again from 9.3% to 11.0% over the past two weeks.

Everyone must be cautious during the coming weeks as we continue with vaccinations. It takes time for immunity to develop after receiving both doses of the vaccine. Not until most individuals have received both doses of the vaccine and the spread of the virus begins to subside will we be able to start easing back into normal activities. It is important that everyone 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, and practice good hand hygiene. We will continue with all measures enacted over the past weeks that include visitor restrictions and suspension of housekeeping services. In addition, we will be delaying the opening of the new dining venues for in-person dining for the near future and slowly introduce take out options from the new Market+Craft. We anticipate that the Social Brew will reopen the week of January 25th.

Please remember the following measures:

  • To lower the risk of spread of the virus in our community please do not spend time in each other’s individual living spaces and limit your travel off campus to essential needs.
  • 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.
  • 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.

We must not let our guard down during the next 3 months as we work to get everyone vaccinated. Please continue to follow all safety measures until we begin to see conditions on campus and in Buncombe County improve. If you have questions or need assistance, please reach out to us.


John C. Cowan, Jr.

Executive Director