September 11, 2020
Last week Governor Cooper introduced Executive Order 163 Phase 2.5 which may be found at https://files.nc.gov/governor/documents/files/EO163-New-Phase-2.5.pdf. The main change that would impact our campus is the guidance on group gatherings. Under Phase 2, the guidance was no more than 10 persons inside and no more than 25 persons outside. For our campus, we modified those guidelines due to our population and established a guideline of no inside group gatherings and outside gatherings limited to no more than 10 people with proper physical distancing and face coverings. With the new Order, our team is discussing how we may safely expand group gathering opportunities on campus. As we approach fall, we recognize we will need to find ways to safely gather indoors. We will share more detail about this in the coming weeks in the Gazette. Givens Estates will continue to manage community operations within the guidelines of this Executive Order with the understanding that there may be times where we implement additional, more strict measures.
The percentage of all Covid-19 tests performed in Buncombe County that are positive is currently 3.1%. This is a positive indicator since the goal is to remain at or below 5%. In addition, Givens Estates Health Center is no longer considered to be an outbreak facility since we have not had any new confirmed positive cases of Covid-19 among residents or team members over the past 2 weeks. In fact, we have not had any new Covid-19 cases among team members or residents anywhere on campus during the past several weeks.
I appreciate the efforts of team members and residents to follow all measures to stay safe. However, community spread of the virus continues and could increase at any time if we become complacent so please do not let your guard down. Our efforts are yielding positive results so please keep up the good work! Other viruses are on the rise including a few early cases of the flu. As we transition into the fall months, we are seeing more people with symptoms which may be Covid-19 or other viruses. Remember to behave as if everyone has the virus.
- 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, 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 for specific directions regarding your situation.
The Environmental Services team has worked hard to bring full housekeeping services back to residents effective September 14th. I appreciate your patience and flexibility as we work to bring these services back in a modified format that is focused on preventing the spread of Covid-19 and flu. The scheduling changes have been very difficult for staff and residents but are necessary because of the need to limit the number and frequency of housekeepers in your home. Under the new procedure one housekeeper will provide services in homes every other week. The incubation period for the virus is between 5-7 days and the 14-day break in housekeeping services will help limit the number of residents and staff exposed if we see an uptick in the spread of the virus in the region or on campus.
We have received much positive feedback from residents about how nice it is to receive visitors again. As a result of our observations and resident feedback over the past three weeks, effective immediately we will no longer require advance notice of visitors for Independent Living, but visitors must stop at the entrance to sign in and be screened. Your visitors are required to check in at the entrance to campus between the hours of 7:00 am and 6:00 pm. If they arrive before or after these designated visitor arrival times they will be turned away and asked to return during these times. If you have need for an exception to this arrival time requirement, please contact your Social Worker to make other arrangements. Please limit the number of visitors to no more than 4 at a time. Remember that as you increase your social interaction you also increase your opportunity to contract viruses, so please be judicious with your social activity. The process for visitation in GEHC and WAL is different and requires a scheduled reservation in advance. We are not permitting overnight visitors to campus currently.
Givens Estates has suspended the 14-day quarantine requirement for independent living residents after a hospitalization or overnight travel. Please continue to adhere to all safety measures when travelling and in the hospital. I also encourage you to self-monitor your health status for 14 days following either situation and report any Covid-19 symptoms that develop during this period to your social worker or the Campus Nurse for evaluation and possible testing.
Each of us is dealing with the stresses of the Covid-19 pandemic while our campus is undergoing a significant transformation with the Oxford and Asbury Commons renovations and the construction of the Friendship Park Homes. The Pandemic is stressful enough and in addition we are all dealing with the upheaval of all the construction activities. This work is inconvenient and disruptive, and I am grateful for everyone’s patience and understanding. The Oxford Commons construction is particularly challenging right now due to the tremendous amount of activity and I discourage visits to Oxford unless necessary. Over the next 8-10 weeks we will begin seeing the results of the work as we start to open the renovated spaces including the new Therapy Gym located in the Wellness Center, the ground floor restrooms, the Oxford Lobby with the new Social Brew dining venue, etc. We are working on a video that will share the behind the scenes progress of this work that should be ready later next week. During this challenging time please remember to be kind to one another and patient. We are all in this together and moving forward together.
Our next Campus Gathering is September 16th at 3:00 pm and will be broadcast on the Givens Television Channel. Please forward any questions you would like for us to address in advance to [email protected] We will be welcoming the United Way and sharing information about the upcoming flu vaccination plans in addition to construction updates and an update on the Sweeten Creek Road project.
We are currently easing restrictions on campus in response to the reductions in the number of positive Covid-19 cases on campus and in our area. Be assured that our focus on health and safety in the face of this pandemic remains foremost on our minds and we will continue to respond and adjust as circumstances change. This may mean continued easing of restrictions as conditions improve or a return to past restrictions if conditions worsen. The best way to honor our current success is to remain focused on and committed to the health and safety of our entire campus community. So much time and energy has gone into getting to this point, and it will require an equal measure of focus and dedication to prevent these efforts from being in vain.
Please contact us if you have questions or we can be of assistance.
John C. Cowan, Jr.