As we have mentioned in the past, we often receive guidance from CMS and the NYS Department of Health at the same time as the general public with regards to the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) and visitation to the Lutheran Home and Rehabilitation Center. We recently received new guidance to follow, some of which is a stark contrast to previous information given to us just a week or so ago, and we have been forced to adjust our visitation protocols on the fly while still allowing visits to occur. Though much of what we have been doing will remain the same, there are some very important changes you need to be made aware of that may have changed since your previous visit (if you’ve scheduled one) or previous letters home.
First, some items that remain unchanged include:
- Visitors must be screened for COVID-19 symptoms or possible/known exposures prior to admission. Anyone exposed to or exhibiting symptoms will be denied entry or visitation with our residents.
- Use of face coverings and hand sanitizer/hand washing is required.
- Visitation is limited and available by appointment. Compassionate care visits are available by appointment when visitation is suspended with prior approval from Lutheran’s Ethics Committee. End-of-life visits remain available at all times.
- Visitors and community members can still find our COVID-19 case numbers, previous communications, and other relevant information on our website and through our 24/7 COVID-19 hotline (found on the back of this letter)
- COVID-19 testing of visitors, either prior to a visit at our facility or upon arrival, as well as COVID-19 vaccinations are not mandatory but are strongly encouraged to protect your loved ones, other residents, and the staff who care for them.
- Anyone unable or unwilling to follow the guidelines and visitation policies set forth (which are subject to change with little to no notice) will be denied entry to our building for the safety and wellbeing of our residents and staff.
Second, the items that have changed (for your benefit and protection) with regards to visitation, contact, and exposure risk include:
- Visitors are allowed to be in close contact with a resident, including touching and hugging, if the resident is fully vaccinated. Both residents and guests must wear a well-fitting face covering at all times, perform hand hygiene before and after the visit, and maintain a distance from other residents regardless of their familiarity.
- Indoor Visitation is subject to a pause based on community and facility COVID-19 positivity rates. Outdoor visitation is not subject to the same restrictions and is preferred when weather permits. Outdoor visits can occur even if there are active COVID-19 infections in the facility and even if the resident is not vaccinated (either partly or fully) from COVID-19. Visits held outdoors with non-vaccinated residents must utilize face coverings, hand hygiene, and social distancing protocols.
- If a visitor to LHRC discovers that they have tested positive for COVID-19, and their visit occurred within two (2) days before symptom onset or two (2) days before their sample was collected, they should notify the facility IMMEDIATELY. In this case, one of two things can happen:
- The resident will be placed on a fourteen (14) day quarantine if PPE and hygiene protocols were used by their guest.
- If little-to-no PPE or hygiene protocols were used, or if the visitor violated any of the visitation policies outlined before and during their visit, it will result in a facility-wide quarantine along with facility-wide testing (called “outbreak testing”) of all residents and staff.
- In the event that facility-wide quarantine and outbreak testing is required in an identical or remotely similar situation, the facility can reopen after meeting the following criteria:
- Nursing homes with a COVID-19 infection limited to a single area or unit may allow residents in the other unaffected units to have visitors. Indoor visitation can resume for the affected area or unit after one (1) round of facility-wide outbreak testing with zero new positive COVID-19 infections.
- If the outbreak affects two (2) or more units, visitation is placed on hold for the entire facility while outbreak testing continues for at least fourteen (14) days. If there are zero new positive COVID-19 infections after that period, visitation will resume.
- Indoor visitation (regardless of vaccination status) will not be permitted:
- For unvaccinated residents if the county positivity rate is >10% AND <70% of residents in the facility are fully vaccinated.
- For residents with a confirmed COVID-19 infection (vaccinated or unvaccinated) until they have met the criteria to discontinue precautions OR residents in quarantine (vaccinated or unvaccinated) until they meet the criteria for release of quarantine.
- If subsequent rounds of outbreak testing identify one (1) or more additional COVID-19 infections in other units or areas of the facility, visitation should be suspended for all residents (vaccinated and unvaccinated) until the facility meets the criteria to discontinue outbreak testing.
As stated before, this information is often difficult to digest, but we have an obligation to share this information with you regardless. A full, detailed reopening plan is available on our website should you need to reference it or read it in its entirety. Thank you for being patient with us! We’re honored to continue working through this material to be sure you and your loved ones can be together safely.
|Symptomatic LHRC Residents Tested for COVID-19 – 68|
LHRC Residents Tested for COVID-19 – ALL*
LHRC Residents Currently Testing Positive for COVID-19 – 0
Former COVID-19 Positive LHRC Residents Recovered – 12
Symptomatic HP Residents Tested for COVID-19 – 36
HP Residents Tested for COVID-19 – ALL*
HP Residents Currently Testing Positive for COVID-19 – 0
Former COVID-19 Positive HP Residents Recovered – 16
Employees Tested Weekly for COVID-19 (State Mandated) – ALL
LHRC Employees Currently Testing Positive for COVID-19 – 1
Former COVID-19 Positive LHRC Employees Recovered – 29
HP Employees Currently Testing Positive for COVID-19 – 1
Former COVID-19 Positive HP Employees Recovered – 22
Tom Holt President and CEO