June 12, 2020
Givens Estates continues to address the challenges presented by the COVID-19 Pandemic. We are doing everything possible to begin the resumption of a more normal campus life, but it will be some time before life gets back to what we have previously known as normal. We find ourselves thrust into a very different living environment where we must guard against personal actions that pose a risk of transmission of the virus. As you may already know, the incidence of the COVID-19 virus continues to increase in the State and locally in Buncombe County as restrictions have been lifted. Givens Estates is monitoring conditions and will continue to move forward slowly and carefully.
Givens Estates is again able to report that no residents or team members have tested positive for COVID-19. As I mentioned in my letter last week, we will perform baseline COVID-19 testing for the residents and team members of Givens Estates Health Center and Wood Assisted Living beginning June 16. The CDC and CMS urge testing in these areas to help with early detection of cases, to identify asymptomatic cases; and to prevent, if possible, outbreaks. Although I hope we will remain with no positive cases on the Givens Estates campus, testing could reveal individuals that are positive for the virus that do not exhibit symptoms. We could also have an individual with the virus in any location on campus as residents and team members increasingly venture out into the community at large at a time where community spread of the virus is increasing. At such time as we have our first positive case of COVID-19 among residents or team members I will promptly communicate with you.
The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, Nursing Home Certification Section conducted an infection control survey of Givens Estates Health Center on Monday to evaluate our compliance with all infection control requirements necessary to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. The survey found that the health center is in full compliance with all measures. This deficiency free survey is a result of attention to every detail by all team members working hard every day to keep residents and their co-workers healthy and safe.
We have received questions about Contact Tracing which is the systematic identification and monitoring of all persons who might have been exposed to a person diagnosed with COVID-19. Slowing the spread of the virus depends on people knowing when they have been exposed. Through contact tracing, local health department staff and other COVID-19 Community Team members reach out to people who may have recently come into close contact with someone who tests positive for COVID-19 to provide them with the information and support needed to protect themselves and their loved ones. It is important that people answer the call when the Community Team reaches out. Individuals being contacted will get an initial text from the number 45394 or email from NC-ARIAS- [email protected] with follow-up phone calls from their local health department or NC OUTREACH (844-628-7223). The Community Team will never ask for anyone’s Social Security Number, bank or credit card numbers, or any other financial information at any time. Any information shared during the call is a private health record and is strictly confidential. If you receive a phone call regarding contact tracing where the caller requests financial information, you should not provide this information since it is likely a scam.
Please note the following:
Outdoor resident groups are permitted on campus with proper physical distancing, hand washing/sanitizing, wearing of face coverings/masks and no sharing of food or drink. Please limit the size of your groups to no more than 10 individuals. Please contact Independent Living Life Enrichment if you would like to reserve outdoor areas, the firepit, etc. or borrow outdoor games like cornhole, etc. In the coming weeks we will be offering more organized outdoor opportunities for you to enjoy.
Indoor groups are still not permitted at this time. We are working to determine how limited group exercise and other small groups might be accommodated as we approach Phase 3 of the reopening. This decision will depend on conditions on campus and in Buncombe County.
Please be reminded of the following:
Campus Visitors are still restricted: We are currently evaluating under what circumstances and conditions independent living resident visitation might resume and the timing. Please be patient with us as we deliberate how and when campus visitation might resume.
Givens Estates Health Center and Wood Assisted Living Center: No visitation is permitted in compliance with Federal and State mandates. Residents that live in these areas are restricted from activities outside these living areas which means independent living residents should not take residents living in GEHC or WAL out for rides or to your homes for visits. It is anticipated that visitation will not be permitted for some time. Do not walk through Wood Assisted Living as a short cut since it is closed to anyone not working or living in that area. As rules change, we will promptly communicate them.
Travel Outside Asheville (overnight): We strongly recommend you do not travel outside Asheville; but if you do, it is required you check with 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. Travel with outside social interaction will.
Quarantining: Visits to physician’s offices or other medical appointments do not require a 14-day quarantine. Visits to the emergency room or hospital will continue to require quarantining for 14 days upon return to campus.
Please continue your good infection control practices and remember to let us know how we can support you during these stressful times. We will continue to carefully balance resident and team member health and safety and adjust as conditions change. Thank you for your continued patience, understanding and encouragement.
John C. Cowan, Jr.