COVID-19 NEWS AND UPDATES
UPDATE: Friday, April 3, 2020
On behalf of the staff and residents of Wesley Woods, thank you. Thank you for your encouragement, patience and grace during this challenging time. We understand how difficult it has been for our residents and their family to shelter in place while necessary precautions of social distancing have been implemented.
Currently we do not have anyone in our communities that are positive for the virus. We continue to follow the guidance provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Georgia Department of Public Health and our regulatory partners in an effort to keep our residents and staff safe. Our staff are routinely trained on and practice infection control procedures as a standard work process, however; we have increased sanitation practices at each of our communities with a focus on high touch areas.
As a result of CDC, DPH and CMS guidance, we have made the changes below in an effort to prevent the spread of the coronavirus at Wesley Woods.
Recognizing that older adults are among the most vulnerable to COVID-19, Wesley Woods has made the decision that no visitors are allowed in any of our communities. Critical vendors including healthcare and hospice personnel will be allowed to continue to perform their prescribed visits but they will be required to be screened before entering the building.
ACTIVITIES & SOCIAL DISTANCING
Per the CDC and the President’s guidelines, we are strongly encouraging all of our residents to practice social distancing and remain in their apartment homes. We request that all residents refrain from gathering in common area spaces. Additionally, all congregate activities such as exercise classes, social gatherings, etc. have been cancelled until further notice. The Fitness and Wellness centers are closed until further notice. Further, we have requested that residents limit their own trips to and from the community.
Some of our communities, because of the residents served in long term care, are no longer allowing residents to leave the community. Should residents choose to leave, they will be required to quarantine themselves for 14 days upon return.
Wesley Woods has cancelled congregate dining and has begun delivering all meals to the residents’ apartment home.
We are discontinuing non-essential transportation. Transportation to the grocery store will continue at this time, however; protocols have been instituted to screen and limit the number of passengers per trip. Social distancing and sanitation protocols are required. Because our residents represent a vulnerable population, we strongly encourage all residents to engage delivery services to order supplies or have family members deliver needed items. Delivery drop off points have been established for each community.
All staff are screened for signs and symptoms, included temperature monitoring at the start of each shift. We encourage any staff member to report any signs of illness and stay home if sick.
UPDATE: Thursday, March 26, 2020
Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms issued Executive Order 2020-21 which mandates a 14-day “stay-at-home” order. The Order was issued as a result of consultation with healthcare providers who stated we would enter a “point of no return” and every day of delay would lead to an “earlier and higher peak of infected Georgians.” As a result, Atlanta residents are directed to stay inside their homes for the 14-day period except to access essential services. Long-term care services and housing for older adults are considered essential, therefore Wesley Woods employees who reside within the Atlanta city limits are considered exempt.
In addition, Dekalb County CEO Michael Thurmond has initiated a voluntary curfew from 9:00 p.m. – 6:00 a.m. Governor Brian Kemp, announced several measures aimed directly at flattening the curve, including a ban on gatherings of more than 10 people and a shelter-in-place order for “medically fragile” residents, this would include most, if not all, of our residents. While no other city where we have a community has issued such an order, your leaders are monitoring information coming from local leadership, the Department of Public Health and the CDC.
What does this mean for Wesley Woods?
Our communities provide critical 24-hour housing and services to Georgia’s vulnerable older adults. We will continue to staff our communities appropriately to manage the needs of our residents.
As stated in the Executive Directive, long-term care workers and those providing housing and service to older adults, (such as our HUD housing communities) are exempt allowing our team members to come and go to our place of work. This includes our essential support personnel, such as environmental services, maintenance, food and nutrition and others who are deemed essential to work at our communities and not telecommuting.
The order to Shelter in Place will help reduce the spread of COVID-19 throughout Atlanta and Georgia in the days and weeks to come. I appreciate the commitment, creativity and compassion shown in serving our residents and each other.
Terry Barcroft, CEO
Wesley Woods Senior Living
UPDATE: Tuesday, March 17, 2020
Recognizing that older adults are among the most vulnerable to COVID-19, Wesley Woods has made the decision that no visitors are allowed in any of our long-term care communities. Healthcare and hospice personnel will be allowed to continue to perform their prescribed visits, but they will be required to be screened before entering the building.
ACTIVITIES & SOCIAL DISTANCING
Per the CDC and the President’s guidelines, we are strongly encouraging all of our residents to practice social distancing. In addition, we have cancelled all congregate activities such as exercise classes, social gatherings, etc. until further notice. We request that all residents refrain from gathering in common area spaces. The Fitness and Wellness centers are closed until further notice. We have asked residents to limit their own trips to and from the community.
Wesley Woods has cancelled congregate dining and has begun delivering all meals to the residents’ apartments.
We are discontinuing non-essential transportation. Trips to the grocery store and pharmacy will continue at this time, however; protocols have been instituted to limit the number of passengers per trip and the staff will sanitize the bus after each trip.
We encourage residents to order groceries on-line. Residents are also asked to have a 30 day supply of necessary medications.
We have created and updated several policies to help inform and protect our staff in regards to Covid-19. We have provided training on our Universal Precautions protocol, communicable disease protocol and released new protocols for Covid-19 to educate our team on how to stay safe, how to recognize symptoms, and what to do in the case of suspected symptoms in themselves, family members, vendors and our residents.
We have reviewed all our 3rd party providers policies for screening their associates. We have communicated our policies and restrictions on visitation to our providers and vendors. We have also leveraged our partnership with our national vendors to ensure we have sufficient supplies for our communities.
As you have perhaps experienced, Wesley Woods has put in place many new safety procedures in response to the recently classified pandemic of COVID-19. Wesley Woods is following the guidance of local and state agencies, including the Centers for Disease Control, the Georgia Department of Public Health, as well as, daily, communication with Emory Healthcare leadership. Below is helpful information for you and your families and the latest information about policies and procedures to ensure the safety and health of residents and staff.
What Is the New Coronavirus (COVID-19) and What Are the Symptoms?
As stated by the CDC, this is a new disease and they are still learning how it is spread. Currently, it appears that the virus is primarily spread from person to person through close contact or through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. It is thought that people are most contagious when they are symptomatic.
Symptoms Can Appear 2-14 Days After Exposure:
Shortness of breath
Ensuring our community is safe is our primary responsibility, and our age population is already considered vulnerable. It may be necessary for residents to be quarantined in their apartment to minimize the spread of the virus. We will communicate with you and your families if this becomes necessary. In light of that possibility, it is advised that residents have on hand fresh water, some shelf-stable foods and a 30-day supply of medications.
Measures to Prevent Transmission of the Virus
The CDC recommends you practice infection control like you would with any other virus:
Wash your hands often, with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing. Dry your hands thoroughly after washing.
If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol, and rub your hands until they are dry. We have hand sanitizer stations positioned at the front desk.
Stay at home when you are sick.
Use a tissue if you cough or sneeze. Only cough/sneeze into your elbow if no tissue is available. Do cough or sneeze into your hands. Wash your hands thoroughly after coughing/sneezing.
If you sneeze into a tissue, throw it out immediately into a trash can, and then wash your hands thoroughly.
Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a household cleaning spray or wipe.
Wearing a face mask is not recommended for people who are well, but if you have some of the symptoms listed above and must leave your apartment, call the reception desk for guidance.
Policies and Procedures for Infected Residents
If you are experiencing fever, cough, or shortness of breath you should contact your physician immediately. If it is recommended that you seek medical attention, contact the reception desk for instructions on exiting the building.
Any resident who has been tested for Covid-19 and awaiting diagnosis or has been diagnosed with Covid-19 without hospitalization will be required to follow the recommended protocol as directed by the Department of Public Health and self-quarantine. If you are returning from a medical appointment and have been instructed by health officials to self-quarantine until results are final, you must call the reception desk for instructions on entry to the building.
The following protocol has been put into place:
Entry into the building:
- When the resident arrives at the front desk and announces that they are under orders to self-quarantine, the front desk staff will immediately notify the Administrator or the supervisor in charge.
- If the resident does not identify themselves as being under self-quarantine but the front desk security staff suspects that they are returning from travel, either international or domestic, or has been diagnosed with Covid-19 the resident will be detained in a private area until a supervisor is able to speak with them.
- Any resident that is under quarantine will be required to wear an appropriate surgical mask at all times while entering or exiting their apartment to enter or leave the building.
Use of elevator
- Arrangements must be made for the elevator car to be cleared of all other passengers before the resident under quarantine uses it to go to their apartment.
- A staff member will accompany them to utilize the express function of the elevator to avoid unnecessary stops. The staff member wipe down the elevator with disinfectant cleanser after the resident disembarks and before putting the elevator back in service.
- During the self-quarantine period
- As soon as possible after the resident has reached their apartment, the Executive Director/Administrator, service coordinator or other appropriate staff member must be in contact with the resident, via phone to review the Wesley Woods guidelines for quarantine and to ensure that the resident fully understands them.These guidelines include:
- Visitors will be allowed only to deliver food/supplies outside their apartment door.
- There should be no physical contact with any delivery person, neighbor, family member, etc. The resident should not open the door to speak with any person but it they do, the affected resident must wear a surgical mask at all times and stand no less than 4 feet away.
- Use of the laundry room is not permitted during the quarantine period.
- Use of the trash room is not permitted during the quarantine period. Wesley Woods will provide large garbage bags with which to hold garbage in the apartment. Wesley Woods staff will notify the resident via phone when the garbage bags have been placed outside their door. Once the quarantine is completed, the resident will contact the front desk to have a staff member come collect the trash. Staff members collecting the trash will utilize standard infection control procedures to re-bag the trash and dispose of
- Housekeeping services (if any are provided) will be suspended until the quarantine is over. Once the quarantine is complete, the resident will sanitize the apartment prior to any visitors or staff entering.
- If the resident must leave their apartment for any reason, i.e. medical appointment or emergency, they must first notify the front desk, who will make arrangements for the elevator to be cleared of all other passengers and then using the express feature, staff will collect the resident and deliver them to the exiting floor. The elevator will be wiped down with a disinfectant cleanser before being returned to service.
- No apartment inspections or minor maintenance issues will be repaired during the self-quarantine period.Any emergency required maintenance will be managed using the Wesley Woods standard infection control policy.
- Wesley Woods staff will be assigned to check in daily with the resident via phone during this period to maintain communication and updates as necessary.
- The resident must follow any instructions provided to them by government officials or their physician, including taking their temperature regularly and recording the results.
Additional Preparatory Measures Being Taken
- We are conducting infection control in-services for residents and staff.
- Additional sanitizing protocols are being put in place for elevator buttons, door handles in common areas and other common-area surfaces.
- We are stocking up on additional food and supplies to prepare for disruptions in supply chains.
- We are creating staffing plans for possible shortages due to callouts.
Please visit this webpage for the most up-to-date information on Wesley Woods response to the coronavirus. Or visit the CDC website at https://www.cdc.gov. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Lauri Ann Brooks, firstname.lastname@example.org or 404.728.6210.