Last week, NYS Governor Andrew Cuomo signed an executive order requiring ALL long term care employees be tested for Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) on a weekly basis. The purpose of the new requirement is to curb the spread of infectious diseases in confined spaces where large groups of vulnerable people reside. All employees of Lutheran Home and Rehabilitation Center, Hultquist Place Assisted Living Program, and our administration building are included. I want to be clear that this is not a punishment or in response to any positive cases of COVID-19 on our campus. It is simply a measure being instituted state-wide that we must now comply with.
We’re working with our colleagues at The Chautauqua Center to make this happen. Our employees will be tested for COVID-19 using the less invasive oral swab kits either once or twice per week (depending on days worked) for the foreseeable future. Any employee who tests positive will be off work and away from our residents and other staff for a minimum of fourteen (14) days and until they test negative for the virus. This is a tall order with a lot of moving parts, but we’re confident in our plan to get it done.
On May 13, the NYS Department of Health visited the Hultquist Place Assisted Living Program to conduct a survey for infection control practices. The surveyors reviewed policies and procedures, toured the building, and reviewed communication plans to residents and families. The DOH and our staff were very satisfied with the outcome! Several suggestions were made to build on our momentum, including:
- assure social distancing is practiced among residents more effectively
- remind residents to limit the number of people using the elevators at one time
- encourage residents’ use of face masks in the hallways
- assure easy access and add locations for hand sanitizer stations
The items on this list will be shared in the nursing home, administration building, and senior housing where applicable. We were thankful for the visit and even more pleased that our proactivity and precautions were received well. It helped reinforce that the things we have been doing since day one to go above and beyond are, in fact, well worth the time and investment to keep everyone safe.
In the spirit of cleanliness, we thought it would be best to share some information with you on the most effective ways to disinfect your home and your most frequently used objects. It is impossible to see COVID-19 with the naked eye, but this hidden enemy is practically all around. Making sure to clean and sanitize on a regular basis is the best way to be sure you’re protected and your loved ones are protected from the spread of infectious diseases.
Thank you again for your patience and understanding during this time.
President and CEO