September 22, 2020
An update from Mark Smeltzer, Senior Administrator Healthcare Services:
I was excited to see test results from Skilled Nursing start to come back negative on Friday evening. It made it even more crushing to see one resident out of the 200 total tests come back positive. QPRC has performed contact tracing and we do not know how the virus was introduced to the resident. We are bewildered by an immediate follow-up test of that resident that came back negative. Regardless of the circumstances, the Department of Health has confirmed we must continue to take all the precautions we normally do when a positive test occurs.
It breaks my heart that this means we must continue testing all skilled nursing team members and residents weekly until we have two weeks of all negative tests. It breaks my heart that we must continue postponing skilled nursing visitation with friends and families. We are thankful that the two residents who have tested positive have been isolated cases and there has been no additional spread; however, we are anxiously awaiting the day when we have been 100% COVID-free for 14 days so we can open up visitation again. We are thankful that Personal Care has remained COVID-free for a while and has allowed us the ability to allow modified resident visitation. Our residents and their families need the face to face interaction, and we are committed to providing that again as soon as regulations afford us the ability to do so.
Per CMS and DOH Guidelines, Lancaster County has hit a 5.1% COVID Test Positivity Rate. Anything over 5% requires weekly testing of all team members for skilled nursing and testing of any resident who has had outside contact within the past 14 days. For Personal Care, a positivity rate over 5% requires monthly testing for all team members and any residents who have had outside contact within the past 14 days. We are hopeful this number will drop back below 5% when new rates are released by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid.
You may have seen a flurry of recent guidelines and information in the news about long term care visitation which includes Skilled Nursing and Personal Care. The Department of Health and Human Services (Personal Care), Department of Health (Skilled Nursing) and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (Skilled Nursing) have all released updated visitation and reopening guidelines within the past week. Our team is diligently working through those guidelines and creating/updating our policies and procedures to reflect them. These new regulations do allow for some more flexibility and opportunities for visitation which we are excited about. Some of those instances are across the board opportunities, while other visitation circumstances continue to only apply to end of life or significant resident decline situations. Once we have updated and created policies to reflect these new guidelines, we will post them on our website and distribute to the appropriate residents and resident representatives.
COVID has been an emotional roller coaster for all, with our residents, their families, and our front-line team members being impacted greatly. I am thankful that even in frustrating times like now, there is still hope for the future as we continue to safely navigate this pandemic and work towards being able to provide for our resident’s physical, emotional and spiritual needs the way God has called us to.