March 31, 2020
Re: Covid-19 Update – Social Distancing and Programming
Dear Residents and Families,
At Cogir, we have been responsive to the extraordinary recommendations by public health officials and diligent in our safety protocols by limiting contact of our residents and team members to the potential spread of the novel coronavirus. Consistent with shelter-in-place guidelines issued in both Washington and California, we recently extended isolation measures in all of our communities. All of our actions previously taken including cancelling group activities, cancelling dining services, providing tray service to resident rooms and limiting visitation to only essential services have been implemented an effort to increase social distancing for the safety of our residents.
While all residents remain in full quarantine, we continue to monitor them on a daily basis for any symptoms of the coronavirus as has been our protocol for the last several weeks. We also continue to monitor staff for symptoms of illness including temperature checks prior to each of their work shifts. We are fortunate to have devoted team members that are committed to being at our communities daily providing residents with consistent care and attention. Team members also remain self-aware monitoring themselves for potential symptoms, communicating with their ED’s and have been instructed not come to work if they are not feeling well. Once again, the safety and well-being of our residents continues to be our primary focus during these challenging times.
The need to quarantine will remain in place for the foreseeable future, and we are working to find creative alternatives to our typical programming to keep resident’s body and mind active. Our operations teams have been delivering hallway happy hours, courtyard music performances enabling singing and dancing from residents’ balconies, and exercise videos on internal television channels. Each community has varying entertainment options and capabilities that allow residents to remain in their apartments while enjoying music, games and other activities. Staff are primarily focused on community safety protocols including maintaining a clean sterile environment, delivering meals, and performing daily resident checks. Because of that, families are encouraged to continue to engage their loved ones with frequent telephone conversations. Videos calls with applications like Facetime, Zoom, and Skype are also great ways to catch up, connect, and play games.
At Cogir, we have the safety of all our residents and team members at heart. We know you understand and appreciate the importance of the measures we have taken and thank you for your continued cooperation as we all work together for the benefit of everyone’s health and well–being.
March 17, 2020
Re: Covid-19 Update
Dear Residents and Families,
New developments and updates on coronavirus are released daily by local, state, and national health agencies and governmental bodies. Over the weekend, the governors of the states of California and Washington both took aggressive action to limit the size of gatherings closing places of entertainment and recreation statewide. Yesterday, the White House advised all Americans to avoid groups of more than 10 and urged seniors to stay at home altogether in a set of new guidelines designed to mandate social distancing measures. These conditions are expected to persist for at least the next few weeks and our management teams have been meeting daily to make arrangements to keep everyone as safe and as comfortable as possible through this extraordinary event. This is tough on everyone, and we ask for your understanding and cooperation as we look to pull together as a country and a community.
With that, we have implemented or are in the process of pursuing the following measures:
- Most importantly, we ask families to refrain from visiting communities as we need to restrict visitation to only that which we determine to be essential:
- Necessary medical personnel will be allowed (home health, hospice, etc.)
- Families will be allowed to visit for certain compassionate care situations but are being asked to eliminate social visits
- Families are encouraged to use technology such as telephone, video conferences, or mobile devices (e.g., Facetime, Skype) to remain in contact with residents. Consider purchasing an IPad and learning some of the many available applications to help keep connected to family, friends and information.
- Note that some areas of the building have limited WIFI coverage and the extra traffic on our network may necessitate activating a service provider (T-Mobile, Verizon, etc.) to connect your device vs using our WIFI if you are having connection trouble.
- Deliveries from our pharmacy and other essential suppliers will be managed by the concierge, and we are limiting delivery persons from having access into the community past the front desk. We will augment our staff as necessary to accommodate deliveries from families or providers in order to ensure everyone gets their deliveries. If you do not have a prescription service and need some help there, we can work with you on making that connection.
- Actively managing our supply chain of essential items for our operations and to meet the needs of our residents in an effort to weather a prolonged period of quarantine at our communities. We will be trying to source items of daily need in case our residents run out of such thing like toilet paper, toothpaste, tooth brushes and other items of daily need. Please notify us if you are in need and we will do our best to source those items for you.
- We are working with a private lab to gain access to limited Covid-19 testing kits that will enable us to test high risk residents and screen our staff at each of our communities in WA and CA. These tests will better enable us to identify carriers of Covid-19 and in the event we have someone in our communities that tests positive, we can make a more informed quarantining decision earlier.
- With testing in mind, everyone in the community including residents, visitors and staff MUST be on the lookout for any signs of the COVID 19 virus which include regular flu like symptoms, coughing, congestion, and shortness of breath and/or a fever. ANYONE with those signs MUST contact their doctor immediately and PLEASE LET US KNOW at once so we can help as quickly as possible. A doctor can order a test and self-quarantine procedures should begin right away until tests results are known with further treatment can be administered accordingly.
- Prepared staffing contingency plans in an effort to secure adequate staff in anticipation of labor challenges or disruptions due to schools putting pressure on our staff to be home, or symptoms that require our staff to stay home until tested or well enough to return to work. We want to take every precaution, so we expect some staffing interruptions as well as additional staffing needs as a result of having to deliver meals, packages etc. at this time.
At Cogir, we treat the safety of our residents, families, and team members as our top priority. We ask for your patience and support as our approach to the virus evolves over time. We know you understand and appreciate the importance of these measures and thank you for your continued cooperation as we all work together for everyone’s safety. Lastly, I am proud of the amazing teams, families, residents and friends that are all pulling together during this difficult time. We have staff working tirelessly for all of our residents, and we have received some wonderful letters from families calling attention to this good work. Thank you for that feedback as it rejuvenates us all and we appreciate your continued support.
March 10, 2020
Re: Covid-19 and new Protocol
Dear Residents, Families and Staff,
The Covid-19 virus and the response to it has been rapidly evolving. At Cogir, we have been responsive to the extraordinary recommendations by public health officials and diligent in our safety protocols by limiting contact of our residents and team members to the potential spread of this virus in our communities. Our goal is to continue to provide a safe and healthy environment. Currently, we do not have any presumptive or confirmed cases of the coronavirus, and we will continue to make safety and cleanliness our top priority. We will distribute updates as we have new information.
Prior to today, we have employed a multi-pronged approach to limiting contact with Covid-19 taking the following actions:
1. Actively monitoring residents and staff for symptoms of the virus
2. Screening all visitors for current or recent flu-like symptoms, and empowering our teams to prevent entry of any visitor who is exhibiting symptoms, reported recent symptoms or those having been in contact with anyone who had experienced symptoms
3. Required all visitors and staff to practice handwashing or sanitizing as they enter and exit the community
4. Limited outside activities and group gatherings
5. Closed our salons
6. Closed our salad bars and buffets
7. Increased the cleaning and disinfecting in our buildings
We understand the inconvenience this may have caused you and your families. Your cooperation and willingness to comply with these extraordinary steps has been inspiring and appreciated.
Today, Governor Inslee has distributed a proclamation focused on the safety of the citizens of Washington and prioritizing additional security measures for the senior housing industry. A copy of the decree can be found here:
https://www.governor.wa.gov/sites/default/files/proclamations/20-06 Coronavirus (tmp).pdf
Each of our communities has also posted this announcement at the front desk area of the community. For the most part, these steps are those things we have already been practicing as outlined above. However, in some cases, there are some further restrictions outlined below for additional steps for the safety of our residents and staff. We have already implemented these added precautions which include:
1. Visitors MUST be adults, thus no one under the age 18 will be allowed. (ID Is now required)
2. All visitors will continue to be screened, but now temperatures will be taken for all staff and visitors seeking entrance to the community. We will be doing this with touchless thermometers. These thermometers can sometimes produce a high reading after coming in from the outside, thus if someone has a temperature of over 100.4 initially, we will use a secondary method and confirm the temperature. If the temperature is confirmed above 100.4, a visit will be declined.
3. Approved visits must take place in resident’s room.
4. We will also be following the SAME screening procedure for our staff and our volunteers at the beginning of each shift.
5. All visitors and volunteers must sign into a log and the log will be kept on record for a minimum of 30 days. Required information will include name, address, phone number and email addresses so we may be able to contact visitors later if necessary.
6. All employees, volunteers and visitors who have passed the screening will have a sticker. Having the sticker indicates screening was successfully passed. Anyone who does not pass the screening will not be allowed to enter the community.
At Cogir, our professionals have the safety of our residents, families, and team members at heart. We ask for your patience as we work with the experts to understand the full reach of this illness and to minimize its impact on our residents, staff and our families. We know you understand and appreciate the importance of these measures and thank you for your continued cooperation as we all work together for everyone’s safety.
March 3, 2020
Dear Residents and Families,
At Cogir, the safety and health of our residents and staff members is our top priority. The recent events pertaining to the coronavirus in our area have prompted us to take extra precautions to protect our residents and staff members from the possibility of an outbreak in any of our communities. We will continue to adjust our actions based on recommendations from public health officials and our own internal health care professionals. We will distribute updates via resident, family, and staff memos as we have new information.
Here is a summary of actions taken to date:
- We are actively communicating with staff and residents regarding precautions they should take to protect themselves and the community.
- We continue to be diligent in maintaining a clean environment to help reduce the spread of germs.
- We continue to follow our existing policies and procedures related to preventing the spread of communicable disease among residents and staff.
- We have implemented visitation restrictions, including vendors and 3rd party caregivers, at all of our communities to prevent higher risk individuals from entering our community environment. Reception and other relevant employees are screening all visitors and vendors. Those who meet any of the following criteria will be asked to postpone their visit:
1. You have symptoms of illness or have been in close contact with someone with symptoms of illness, including fever, cough, and shortness of breath.
2. You have recently visited or come into close contact with someone who has contracted Covid-19 commonly referred to as the coronavirus.
3. You have recently returned from travel to any country with a CDC-issued Level II or Level III travel advisory, such as China, South Korea, Italy, Iran, and Japan. Visits should be delayed for at least 14 days after return to the US, and you can confirm no symptoms of illness such as fever, cough, and shortness of breath.
- We are investigating whether or not any residents or employees currently have upper respiratory symptoms (including fever, cough, and shortness of breath). We will ask any resident or employee with these symptoms to speak with their doctor, if they haven’t already, and based on that information, they may be asked to stay in their apartment or stay home from work.
- We are rolling out refresher training and supplemental training materials regarding cleaning protocols and infection control guidelines. We will expect each department director to review this with their employees as they begin their shift.
As a reminder, the best defense is frequent hand washing using proper hand-hygiene by scrubbing with warm water for at least 20 seconds. Hand sanitizer is useful but does not replace washing with soap and hot water. You should also avoid touching your face and keep your hands away from your nose and mouth. Health officials do not recommend wearing masks as they say it will not stop the spread of the virus and it reduces important resources from health care professionals.
Once again, we are working closely with our team members, remain committed to the safety of our residents, and we have regional clinical teams in place that can support our communities. We will continue to keep you updated as needed and please feel free to reach out to me or your community’s Executive Director if you have any questions.