September 10, 2021
Our region continues to experience widespread COVID-19 activity with high positivity rates, increasing numbers of individuals with the virus and hospitalizations. Currently the positivity rate for Buncombe County is 9.4% and for the State it is 11.3%.
Givens Estates is carefully monitoring conditions on campus and is seeing increasing numbers of cases among vaccinated and unvaccinated residents and team members. This is to be expected given the more contagious Delta variant of the virus and widespread transmission in our region. We are conducting twice a week testing of all residents and team members in GEHC and WAL. From routine testing this past Friday and Tuesday we have identified our first resident cases and several additional team members with the virus. Currently Givens Estates has 13 team members (3 IL/5 WAL/5 GEHC) and 7 residents (0 IL/ 5 WAL/ 2 GEHC) testing positive for the virus. All positive residents are fully vaccinated and are either asymptomatic or have very mild symptoms and are doing well.
Givens Estates has excellent vaccination rates with 98% of all campus residents and 77% of team members fully vaccinated. Conditions today are significantly different than in December of this year because of the availability of effective vaccines and our high rate of vaccination across campus which is providing significant protection to vaccinated individuals and the campus collectively. Many of the current cases among asymptomatic residents and team members in WAL and GEHC would not have been identified except for the frequent, twice a week routine testing that is occurring in those care settings.
Visitation in Wood Assisted Living and Givens Estates Health Center is suspended until such time as we do not have further cases of the virus for a period of two weeks. Residents and team members that do not live or work in WAL should not use the third and fourth floor WAL corridors to access other parts of Asbury Commons.
All residents and team members, whether vaccinated or unvaccinated, must continue to follow the prevention measures to help slow the spread of the virus. Givens Estates, in accord with the Buncombe County mandate, requires everyone to wear a mask when in public spaces, when participating in programs and activities, and in the dining rooms when not seated at a table. Continue to be vigilant in following the other COVID prevention measures which include maintaining physical distance between yourself and others of at least 6 feet, practicing good hand hygiene, and staying home when sick. If you develop any symptoms or suspect you have been exposed, please immediately self-isolate at home and telephone us for help with testing.
Givens Estates will be offering separate flu and COVID-19 booster vaccination clinics. Resident and team member flu vaccinations will be available on campus beginning early October. On recommendation of our Medical Director, we will offer the quadrivalent flu vaccine in lieu of the High Dose flu vaccine because the high dose vaccine has increased incidence of side effects. If you desire a high dose flu vaccine, please contact your physician or preferred pharmacy for availability. We are currently finalizing plans and will provide details of the dates, times, and locations in the September 24th Gazette. I anticipate the logistics will be like the process we followed last year which included drive through and neighborhood-based vaccinations. I encourage all residents and team members to get a flu vaccine.
We still await guidance from Federal Agencies regarding COVID-19 booster vaccinations. Givens Estates, in partnership with SONA Pharmacy, is poised to offer booster vaccinations on campus the middle of October assuming Moderna vaccine boosters are approved by then. We cannot provide booster vaccines until guidelines have been issued. We will let you know the details regarding the COVID-19 booster vaccination clinics as soon as possible. Only guidelines for immunocompromised individuals have been issued for a third dose of the same vaccine originally received. Please contact your physician to see if you may need a third dose of the vaccine due to an immunodeficiency.
We are currently at a point in this pandemic where we are learning how to safely live in the presence of the COVID-19 virus while living our day to day lives. I appreciate everyone’s patience, understanding and adherence to public health guidelines. I will provide another update and answer questions you have at next week’s Campus Gathering on Wednesday, September 15th. In the meantime, please let me or my colleagues know of any questions or needs that we can assist you with.
John C. Cowan, Jr.