FROM: Walnut Street Center, Inc
DATE: April 10, 2020
RE: Coronavirus Update
Dear Residents, Families, Friends and other stakeholders,
We are committed to doing everything that we can to keep our residents safe and to continue to keep the lines of communication open.
WSC had our first resident test positive for COVID-19. A resident at one of our locations has been hospitalized since Monday and we found out Wednesday that she tested positive. We are saddened about this but not surprised, as this virus is affecting so many of us. The good news is that she is doing well in the hospital and will be kept there until they receive a negative test. According to the predictions we expect things to get worse before they get better. Lets try to stick together and support one another!
As soon as WSC received the news of a positive diagnosis we personally reached out to each staff person affected to inform them of the diagnosis, discuss their feelings and work situation. We are encouraging staff to contact their doctors and follow their recommendations. We are supporting employees to follow those recommendations; in some cases, this involves a leave and in others it involves working and continual monitoring of situation. Also, we are also reaching out to guardians, DDS and the other residents’ PCPs.
As everyone has been hearing, obtaining Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) has been difficult and, in some cases, impossible. At this time WSC has been able to secure the PPE that we need to protect staff.
We are encouraging anyone that has any questions or suggestions to reach out to management which includes: Director of Operations, House Manage, or Director of Residential Services or me directly.
Many of our residents are elderly and may have medical conditions putting them at a higher risk of becoming sick. Healthcare personnel (HCP) are the most likely sources of introduction of the virus that causes COVID-19 into our homes. To protect our vulnerable residents, we are continuing to follow actions to reduce the risk of COVID-19 in our residents and staff:
- Effective April 9, 2020 WSC will only use relief agency staff if all other staffing options have been exhausted.
- Effective 3/31 all staff are being asked to wear masks both at the work location and in public spaces when conducting company business.
- Effective April 1, 2020 all persons in the building need to be wearing a mask at all times.
- Effective March 17, 2020 we closed our Day Programs. Those programs will remain closed until further notice. We expect them to be closed at least until the state of emergency/stay at home order is lifted.
- Effective March 17, 2020 we have limited access to 291 Mystic Ave to workers that are considered essential to our operations. All non-essential activities have been postponed.
- Effective March 17, 2020 all visitation is being restricted except for certain compassionate care situations, such as VNA or end of life situations.
- We know that your presence is important for your loved one but, per guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), this is a necessary action to protect their health. We are recommending alternative methods of visitation (such as Skype and FaceTime) so that you can continue to communicate with your loved ones.
- Visitors who are permitted to enter homes will be required to frequently clean their hands, limit their visit to a designated area within the building, and wear a facemask. As the situation with COVID-19 is rapidly changing, we will continue to keep you updated.
- We are monitoring healthcare personnel and residents for symptoms of respiratory illness. Healthcare personnel will be actively monitored for fever and symptoms of respiratory infection. Ill healthcare personnel will be asked to stay home. You may see healthcare personnel wearing facemasks and gloves in order to prevent germs from spreading and help keep residents safe. Healthcare personnel will clean their hands frequently. We are assessing residents daily for fevers and symptoms of respiratory infection in order to quickly identify ill residents and implement additional infection prevention activities.
- When ill residents are identified, they will be monitored closely, asked to stay in their rooms and/or wear a mask. Also, their PCP will be contacted ASAP.
- We are limiting activities within residences. We are cancelling all group activities and all community outings. We will be helping residents to practice social distancing, including during meals, and to frequently clean their hands. We encourage you to review the CDC website for information about COVID-19, including its symptoms, how it spreads, and actions you can take to protect your health: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/
Thank you very much for everything you are doing to keep our residents and facility staff safe and healthy. We will continue to monitor the situation in our community and keep you informed.
Carolyne Guffey, M.B.A., PHR
291 Mystic Ave.
Medford MA. 02155