July 30, 2021
I am writing to provide an update regarding the threat from an increased incidence of the new highly contagious Delta variant of the COVID virus. Unfortunately, the incidence of the new Delta variant has grown dramatically over the past four weeks and makes up more than 80% of all new cases. The positivity rate for Buncombe County has increased from 1.4% at the beginning of the month to more than 6% now with daily cases growing. In our State, the positivity rate is currently above 9% with the number of daily cases growing from 200 early in the month to more than 3,000 yesterday.
Givens Estates is fortunate to have high resident vaccination rates of 98.5% for independent living, 100% for assisted living and 94% for health care. Our team member vaccination rate has risen over the past weeks to 76%. The vast majority of new COVID cases are among individuals not vaccinated. In addition, most of the serious illnesses and hospitalizations are among unvaccinated individuals. If you have not received the vaccine now is the time to do so for your own and others wellbeing. Givens Estates has both the Moderna and Janssen vaccines and can vaccinate you so please contact us as soon as possible.
Yesterday Givens Estates identified a WAL resident’s vaccinated private sitter positive for COVID. This is unfortunate since it means that we must suspend visitation in WAL for a minimum of two weeks while we test all residents and team members. There are also residents and team members across other areas of campus that are being tested because of symptoms and exposures. It is required that you notify us if you have symptoms of and are being tested for COVID and that you remain in your home to self- isolate. We are tracking all reports among residents and team members to identify any increased incidence on campus with associated trends. Residents should telephone their social worker if they have symptoms to get tested.
As a result of the highly contagious Delta variant of the virus and an increasing incidence of cases among vaccinated individuals, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now recommends vaccinated individuals wear masks when indoors in areas where there is substantial and high COVID activity. Since the current level of COVID activity in Buncombe County is substantial, Givens Estates now recommends vaccinated individuals to wear a mask when indoors in public areas on campus. This recommendation applies to programs and activities on campus and in the dining rooms when not seated at your table. Please refer to the updated CDC guidance at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/fully-vaccinated.html . Givens Estates requires individuals that are not vaccinated to wear a mask.
I do not anticipate implementation of the severe restrictions we were under this time last year as we now have effective vaccines and must learn to live our lives in the presence of the virus. We will however make changes as the conditions on campus and locally continue to evolve. Please continue to practice good infection control which includes frequent handwashing, physical distancing, wearing a face mask and staying at home when you feel sick. I encourage you to visit www.ncdhhs.gov for up-to-date information.
I appreciate everyone’s cooperation and patience as we continue to navigate the pandemic. Please let me or any of my colleagues know if you have questions.
John C. Cowan, Jr.