November 20, 2020
There continues to be a significant increase in the number of COVID-19 cases across our Nation and State as well as in Buncombe County. Most areas of the State and Country are seeing record numbers of people stricken with the COVID-19 virus and increasing hospitalizations. It is imperative that you limit contact with people outside your immediate household and follow all preventative measures. There continues to be an increasing number of residents and team members with symptoms of COVID-19, but fortunately most tests are negative for COVID-19 which indicates that seasonal colds, flu, allergies and gastrointestinal viruses are increasing in the area.
Since September the percentage of all COVID-19 tests performed in Buncombe County has fluctuated between 2.3% and 4.7%. Currently in North Carolina the positivity rate has dramatically risen to 7.9%. Givens Estates currently has one team member positive for COVID-19 and no positive residents.
Givens Estates recently registered with the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control for vaccine distribution to GEHC, WAL and Independent Living residents and employees. GEHC and WAL residents and employees will have priority for the first vaccine. We do not have any information regarding the availability date of a vaccine but will communicate information as it becomes available.
Last week Governor Cooper issued Executive Order 176 which extends Phase 3 until 5:00 pm on Friday, December 4th and reduces indoor group size from 25 to 10 individuals. Outdoor activities under the order remain at 50. For the Givens Estates Campus, we will continue to limit outdoor programs to 10 people (distancing and face coverings required) and we are suspending all indoor programs effective Saturday November 21. Indoor group activities bring increased risk of the spread of the virus and with increasing visitation on campus we believe suspending group programs during this time of increasing community spread of the virus prudent.
Daytime visitors are only allowed in your private residence and not in indoor or outdoor public spaces. Campus visitation is contingent on low percent test positivity in our area and few cases of COVID-19 among residents and team members. Please remember there is increased
risk of exposure to the virus with welcoming visitors into your home. Please limit the number of visitors, frequency and duration of in-home visits until conditions improve. Just because Givens Estates has had few cases of the virus among residents does not mean our good fortune cannot change.
Under the current conditions you should consider delaying travel out of our area and having overnight guests in homes. However, if you feel that either is necessary you should adhere to the following guidelines:
- If you are planning to receive overnight visitors in your home, please contact your Social Worker at least 7 days in advance of arrival to arrange for their visit. Remember guests are not permitted in any public spaces on campus except to travel to and from their vehicle and the resident’s home. Due to the risk of exposure to COVID-19 during overnight stays in homes, we recommend that you observe a 14-day self-quarantine in your home beginning on the departure date of your overnight guests.
- 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. You will be required to self-quarantine upon return to Givens Estates for 14 days. Travel to a vacation home where there is no outside social interaction will probably not require self-quarantine upon return.
Please continue to take precautions to reduce your risk of acquiring the COVID-19 virus:
- 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, and follow up with your doctor and Givens Estates (Social Worker or Campus Nurse) by telephone for specific directions regarding your situation.
- Wear a mask covering your nose and mouth in public or if others enter your home; wash your hands with sanitizer at least 65% alcohol-based or with soap and water for 20 seconds and wait and physically distance at least 6 feet from others. Make sure when you visit with family and friends in your home everyone follows these precautionary measures.
If the number of Givens Estates residents and team members with COVID-19 increases, the percent of tests positive rate increases locally, and/or local, state or other governmental mandates are enacted, campus guidelines may become more restrictive in response. Protecting the health and wellbeing of residents and team members continues to be our highest priority.
I hope everyone will be able to reflect on the many blessings in our lives as we enter Thanksgiving week. I am grateful for the combined efforts of all team members, residents and others during these challenging times to support, encourage and care for each other. Have a nice Thanksgiving!
John C. Cowan, Jr.