Update Sepetmber 10, 2020
We are happy to report that the re-opening went as planned yesterday! It was truly heartwarming to see residents united with loved ones! The positive energy and happiness was palpable! We do appreciate your patience as we have worked diligently through this long process. The facility remains free of any active COVID-19 cases. As reported, we have gone more than three (3) months without a positive resident test result. We have had sporadic employee positive test results which has delayed our opening. DOH guidance requires that we go fourteen (14) days with no new positive cases (employee or resident) before we can open. We have been testing weekly for the past several weeks. Our plan was to move to monthly testing this week. However, new guidance from CMS and PA DOH requires us to conduct screening testing based on county positivity rates. It is based on the COVID-19 activity level in the county. There is detailed information on this topic which can be located on the CMS website and in the Department of Health Guidance on COVID-19 For Skilled Nursing Homes in Pennsylvania published on September 3, 2020.
As of last week, Lancaster County had a positivity rating of 4.2%. According to CMS and DOH guidance, this rating requires facilities to test employees monthly. As of 9/8/2020, new county positivity rates were published by CMS that showed Lancaster County moved to a positivity rating of 5.3%. This increase requires that facilities in Lancaster County test employees weekly. We have resumed weekly testing this week. Staff are being tested today through Sunday. Please keep in mind, that any new positive test result would require us to go back to Step 1 in the PA DOH re-opening guidance, meaning, we would have to cancel visits until we again achieve 14 days with no new positive cases. I share this information not to cause anxiety but to educate and prepare you that this is a real possibility given what is happening within our community. Our prayers are that we will continue to maintain normal operations for our residents.
As of now, we are continuing to schedule visits for the next few weeks. Please contact Lindsey Black, Therapeutic Recreation Director, to schedule your visit. All visits will be held in the Appel/Rosemont Courtyard weather permitting. We do have an area set up inside the solarium for indoor visits during inclement weather. We will notify you directly and on this site if there is any need to alter our plans.
Additionally, many of you are aware that the Department of Health Guidance on COVID-19 For Skilled Nursing Homes in Pennsylvania published on September 3, 2020, included language allowing for "compassionate caregiver" visits. These are specific requirements spelled out in the guidance which requires formal policies and procedures to ensure that we are meeting the intent of the guidance. Under this section, a resident must meet the definition of having a significant change and the "compassionate caregivers are required to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test that was administered within the last days, preferably 72 hours before initiating Caregiver duties." There is a time limit on the visits, care plan requirements, as well as multiple facility responsibilities for oversight of these visits. We are currently working on our policy/procedure and will share that with you as soon as it is completed. In the meantime, if you have questions, please contact Sharon Eyster, Director of Operations to discuss the compassionate caregiver guidance.
As always, we will continue to provide you with updates on our testing results and any changes to our re-opening plans. Please feel free to continue to call with questions or concerns.