COVID-19 - July 31, 2020

Published on August 5, 2020

July 31, 2020

Dear Friends,

The spread of the coronavirus in Buncombe County and North Carolina continues and Givens Estates is responding in conjunction with local public health officials and other State agencies to manage the impact of the virus on our community. We have been testing residents and team members of Wood Assisted Living and Givens Estates Health Center to mitigate the spread of the virus in these health care settings where the most compromised residents reside, and physical distancing cannot be maintained while providing personal care. We also continue to screen team members and residents campus wide and perform testing when individuals are symptomatic or have been exposed to someone under investigation for the virus.

Given the current environment in Buncombe County where the spread of the virus is increasing, it is inevitable that some team members and residents will contract the virus through everyday activities.  The reason we continue to emphasize and require strict adherence to the 3 W’s is that these measures work to limit the spread of the virus.  I know these measures work because the Givens Estates individuals that have tested positive for the virus have contracted the virus from off campus activity and not spread the virus to others on campus.  We should all assume that any individual we encounter could be contagious for COVID-19 and take the precautions we know work:

  • Wear a face covering or mask covering your nose and mouth when in public.  Also wear a face covering when individuals enter your home to provide a service such as housekeeping, a delivery or maintenance if you are in the same room with them.
  • Physically distance from others by keeping a minimum of 6 feet between yourself and other people and do not participate in group activities where you cannot physically distance. (Residents receiving housekeeping, maintenance or other services in their homes should adhere to our guidelines which require isolating in another room in your home away from staff or leave home during the provision of the service to limit exposures. If you are not feeling well, please let us know so we can reschedule services.)
  • Wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Stay home as much as possible to avoid being exposed to the virus.
  • If you are sick, being tested for COVID-19 or think you have been exposed to someone infected with the virus, please stay home, and follow up with your doctor and Givens Estates for specific directions regarding your situation.

When an individual is identified as positive with Covid-19, contact tracing is performed by the Buncombe County Health Department with the assistance of Givens Estates.  If a resident or team member is identified with the virus only those residents and team members that were a contact of the Covid positive individual will be notified and Givens Estates can help facilitate testing for those individuals exposed and provide support during the required quarantine period.  In such situations, the Buncombe County Health Department will determine when an individual can be released from quarantine; not Givens Estates.  Individuals with the virus have a right to privacy and only individuals with a need to know (had contact with or providing services to the individual) will be made aware of the individual name. 

Over the past several weeks we have not had any additional individuals living or working in Wood Assisted Living test positive for the virus.  Last week we had two additional team members in GEHC test positive for the virus. To date we have had only one campus resident positive for the virus. Information regarding the number of team member and resident active and resolved COVID-19 cases on campus is presented in the following table.  I think this will be a more concise way to show the current trends on campus and the total number of active and resolved cases among residents and team members.

 We have learned a lot about how to provide housekeeping services in a safe manner during the past weeks following the protocols we have implemented.  We are further modifying the operational procedures for housekeeping so we can resume full service soon.  We will be communicating with everyone more of the specific details when they are finalized. 


I am also pleased to report that the Oxford and Asbury Commons renovations are quickly moving forward, and we are preparing to open the new dedicated Therapy Gym (in the Wellness Center, where the Aerobics Room was previously located) in September.  The Oxford Lobby renovations are progressing well with much anticipation for the opening of the new Social Brew dining venue in November.

We are also in the process of finalizing guidelines for independent living residents regarding how they might receive visitors in the coming weeks.  I had hoped to be able to permit on campus visitors before now, but as the conditions worsened, these plans were put on hold.  Perhaps we will see conditions improve to a point where we can enter Phase 3 of the Governor’s Plan for Reopening soon.  Until the visitation guidelines are announced visitors are not permitted on campus and visitation in Givens Estates Health Center and Wood Assisted Living Center is not permitted.

We are diligently working to regain some semblance of normalcy and will do so responsibly in a manner that is safe and healthy.  I am grateful for the extraordinary patience that residents and team members have shown and the personal sacrifices that everyone is making to help one another.  Following these measures has helped us limit the spread of the virus across campus, so please keep up the good work you are doing to keep it this way.

I will continue with my every other week written letters so you will hear from me next on August 14th.   If there are significant events or information that need to be communicated in between I will let you know.  Please let us know of any questions or assistance we can help you with in the meantime.


John C. Cowan, Jr.

Executive Director