July 1, 2020 Letter
Dear Residents, Employees, Family Members, Legal Representatives and Health Care Providers:
As you have heard on the news, COVID cases are on the rise across the country. Many governors are shutting down previously reopened beaches, bars and restaurants and mandating face mask use in public. Silver Bow County in Montana, where our facility, Crest Nursing Home, is located, had not seen a positive COVID case in the county since March 30th. However, in the past week, three new COVID cases have been reported. Once more, we discontinued visitation at Crest and the staff has resumed wearing full face shields and goggles.
We continue to closely watch each county’s COVID activity where our homes are located, as well as COVID activity in adjacent counties. As of June 30, 2020, the following is a list of our facilities and their county’s COVID statistics, listed in increasing order of cases:
- Crest Nursing Home: Silver Bow County, Montana -14 positive cases, 0 deaths, date of last positive case June 29
- Hickory Pointe Care & Rehab: Jefferson County, Kansas – 24 positive cases, 0 deaths, date of last positive case June 23
- Pine View Care Center and Pine View Terrace: Jackson County, Wisconsin – 27 positive cases, 1 death, date of last positive case June 29th.
- Willow Ridge Healthcare: Polk County, Wisconsin – 49 positive cases, 1 death, date of last positive case June 28th.
- Flatrock River Lodge: Rush County, Indiana – 53 positive cases, 3 deaths, date of last positive case June 25th.
- Lodge of the Wabash: Knox County, Indiana – 59 positive cases, 0 deaths, date of last positive case June 28th.
- Plum City Care Center and The Seasons: Pierce County, Wisconsin – 68 positive cases, 0 deaths, date of last positive case June 29th.
- Oakbrook Health & Rehab: Clark County, Wisconsin – 71 positive cases, 6 deaths, date of last positive case June 29th.
- White River Lodge: Lawrence County, Indiana – 218 positive cases, 24 deaths, date of last positive case June 28th.
- Clairidge House: Kenosha County, Wisconsin – 1492 positive cases, 43 deaths, date of last positive case June 29th.
Despite the uptick in positive COVID cases, the Indiana State Department of Health is requiring Indiana nursing homes to commence outdoor visitation this Saturday, July 4th. This means family members may begin calling Flatrock River Lodge, Lodge of the Wabash or White River Lodge to schedule a 30-minute appointment time with their loved one. Please see our outdoor visitation guide for specifics. We are happy you will be able to visit your family member, but apprehensive about the ill-timing of this mandate.
What does this mean for our nursing homes in other states? The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), our federal regulatory agency, encourages any decisions to relax requirements or conduct creative alternatives within nursing homes be made in coordination with state and local officials after a careful review of facility-level, community, and state factors/orders. Additionally, state and local officials consider all the following as a part of a comprehensive reopening plan:
- Case status in surrounding community
- Case status in the nursing home(s)
- Staffing levels
- Access to adequate testing for residents and staff
- Personal protective equipment supplies
- Local hospital capacity
These factors help guide decisions regarding reopening and creative ways to facilitate visitation. Consequently, Wisconsin, Montana and Kansas are not yet requiring homes to begin outdoor visitation. We will keep you apprised of any further progress or developments in this area.
Indiana used slightly different data to guide its decisions, including: (1) the number of hospitalized COVID patients statewide over the last 14 days, (2) critical care bed and ventilator capacity, (3) testing capacity for COVID symptomatic and at-risk Hoosiers; and (4) contact tracing.
Effective July 1st, we have made some changes to our quarantine requirements for residents. Residents that go directly to a clinic or hospital appointment, where the environment is controlled and all precautions are in place, will not be quarantined for 14 days upon their return. This is also true for our dialysis residents. Residents who leave their facilities to attend social gathering events such as weddings, funerals or parties will continue to be quarantined for 14 days upon their return. These social gathering events are often called “super spreader” events if face mask use is not universally enforced for those in attendance and social distancing is not adhered to. Please consider this as you weigh the risks and benefits of having your loved one attend such functions.
Once again, we appreciate your continued patience and understanding. The safety of our residents and staff members are our top priorities. If you have any additional questions or comments, you may e-mail me directly at email@example.com.
Dr. Shellie M. Sonnentag, DNP, AGPCNP-C, CD
Vice President of Clinical Services
Real Property Health Facilities Corp.
435 Village Walk Lane Suite B
Johnson Creek, WI 53038